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'Anti-Sanction' Grocery Stores to Open With All-Russian Produce

The chain of so-called anti-sanction stores will offer only national produce, the Ulyanovsk region agriculture minister said.

In two weeks time, Russia's first "anti-sanction" grocery store will open in Ulyanovsk — the birthplace of communist revolutionary Vladimir Lenin — selling Crimean wine in place of European, fish from Russia's Volga River instead of Norwegian and quails in lieu of imported chicken.

Opened on the order of the regional governor, the store will offer a full range of domestic produce, Alexander Chepukhin, agriculture minister of the Ulyanovsk region, about 900 kilometers east of Moscow on the Volga River, announced Tuesday on his Twitter account.

The drive to boost sales of domestic produce follows Moscow's ban on imports of fruit, vegetables, meat, poultry, fish and dairy products from the EU, U.S., Canada, Norway and Australia — all of which have imposed sanctions on Russia over its annexation of Crimea and alleged support of separatist insurgents in Ukraine's east.

Despite the consensus among economists that the bans will hurt the economy and Russian consumers, popular opinion supports the move.

The store is just the first of 15 to 20 similar shops to be opened by the Ulyanovsk regional government, local news agency Ulpressa reported.

In response to the minister's online call for possible store names, the region's Twitter users stepped forward with proposals such as "Without Obama," "Strong Nation" and "Polite Chickens" — a glib reference to the Russian soldiers who annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in March, earning the popular nickname "Polite People."

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