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'Police-Detecting' Ad Helps Italian Store Owner Beat Russian Sanctions (Video)

Police approach the rotating ad in Moscow

The owner of an Italian market in Moscow has come up with a unique way of bypassing Russia's laws on sanctioned European products, creating an advertising board that shows an entirely different image when approached by police.

The advertising board, which promotes "forbidden Italian delicacies in Moscow," is equipped with software that can identify policemen and rotate to show a new image promoting Russian dolls when they are near, according to a video posted on YouTube.

"Introducing the first advertisement that doesn't want to be seen. For ordinary people, it advertises the forbidden Italian delicacies … but for those who shouldn't see it, it changes to a typical Russian ad," says a voiceover accompanying the video.

The video shows workers at the Don Giulio delicatessen assembling the "police-detecting" software before placing it on an advertisement board, just 250 meters from Russia's Ministry of Interior Affairs.

While nothing happens when plain-clothed passersby walk past the board, if someone in a police uniform approaches, the advertisement immediately rotates to show the matryoshka dolls, the video shows.

The Moscow Times could not immediately verify the authenticity of the "police-detecting" advertisement.

Last August, Russia introduced a year-long ban on most fresh food imports from the EU, Norway, Australia, the U.S. and Canada in response to Western sanctions against Moscow over the annexation of Crimea and its support for rebels in eastern Ukraine.

Meat, fish, dairy, fruit and vegetables all fall under the ban, which expires Aug. 7 but could be renewed.

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