- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Reflecting in part a rising sentiment against all things foreign, a Russian lawmaker has proposed a bill that would require restaurant menus to devote at least half of their offerings to traditional Russian fare.

The bill, which would not apply to “nationality-specific” restaurants focusing on a certain cuisine, would also promote appreciation for domestic dishes and educate foreign tourists on the riches of Russian cuisine, according to sponsor Vadim Solovyev, the State Duma deputy, who plans to introduce the bill this fall.

Mr. Solovyev, a member of the Communist Party, told the Russian newspaper Izvestia this week he was inspired to write the bill in part because he had trouble finding a traditional Russian restaurant near the parliamentary building, located across the street from Red Square in the heart of Moscow.

The dinner table has become a contested battlefield as relations have worsened in recent months between the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin and the West over Ukraine and other conflicts. A national fast-food project launched by a pair of prominent Russian film directors earlier this year has appealed to Mr. Putin to underwrite a $17 million fund to create a Russian McDonald’s that would “promote import substitution and create an alternative to Western fast-food chains.”

Russia last summer banned a wide range of foreign food imports, including beef, pork, fish and cheese, from the U.S., Australia, Canada and the European Union, in response to wide-ranging economic and financial sanctions imposed by the U.S. and its allies.

Russian Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachev escalated the fight last week, saying he would recommend Russian border inspectors immediately destroy any forbidden food exports, instead of sending them back to their producer.

“I want to ask you to do everything possible to allow us to destroy illegal agricultural cargo that arrives at the border right there,” Mr. Tkachev told Mr. Putin in a Cabinet meeting, according to the Russian business newspaper Kommersant.

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