Russia continues to use trade as a political lever. This time wine.
Russia has barred the sale of tens of thousands of bottles of Moldovan wine, amid a politically charged dispute over the nations' Soviet-era history. Forty shipments of wine from Moldova totalling more than 170,000 bottles have been blocked from the Russan market since June 30th 2010.
Russia's top consumer protection official Gennady Onishchenko refused to rule out a total ban on Moldovan wine, raising the possibility of a repeat of the embargo Russia imposed in 2006.
Onishchenko cited quality concerns, saying the wine could be used to paint fences and was dangerous to drink because of toxic ingredients. He warned that control over the quality of Moldovon wine was slipping after improving when the 2006 ban was lifted, and said the Moldovon government had demonstrated its complete ineffectiveness.
Russia's 2006 bans on wine from traditional suppliers Georgia and Moldova sparked claims that Moscow was trying to punish West-leaning leaders in ex-Soviet republics by hitting at their most lucrative exports. The ban on Georgian wine remains in place nearly two years after the countries went to war.