Jiayi Zhou (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute) - Constituting Security: Food “Independence” and the National Economy in the Russian Federation
In August 2014, Russia imposed an import ban on agricultural products from the US, the EU, Norway, Japan and Australia. While ostensibly a reaction against Western sanctions, the goal of decreasing Russia’s reliance on foreign imports of food has been a part of political discourse since the 1990s, and an explicit governmental aim since 2010. Food security has now become synonymous with ‘food independence,’ as well as more broadly with national security and national sovereignty. Using an ‘imagined economies’ epistemological framework, I examine the ways in which the Russian national economic space has been constituted and subsequently ‘secured’ vis-à-vis “dangerous” food imports. I trace shifting coalitions and discourses related to food and economic security, in policy debates and in policy fora from the 1990s onwards. Through the issue-lens of food security, I also explore some of the underlying economic and political assumptions of key Russian policymakers regarding the relational nature of the international trade system, as well as Russia’s place and their strategies for maneuvering within it.
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