Natalia MAMONOVA

Academic Year:
2017/2018

Research Program:
PoM Pontica Magna

Affiliation:
International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Position:
Research Fellow

Country:
Russia

Research project: Russian Politics of GMOs: Food Sovereignty 'Via Kremlina' or a Tool of Geopolitical Leverage?

While farmers, seed savers and social movements from around the world make great efforts toward convincing national governments to set regulatory requirements for GMOs, the Russian government has adopted a law, which completely forbids trade and production of GM food, seemingly without pressure from any food consumers or producers organizations. Taking into account the current geopolitical crisis and relatively exiguous presence of GM products on the Russian domestic market, this act raises several questions: Is it driven by the state’s concerns over people’s health and environmental issues, as officials have declared? Does it aim to provide commercial incentives for domestic agricultural development in order to guarantee national food security? Or is it a new form of anti-Western sanction and Russia’s challenge of the corporate food regime characterized by dominance of transnational corporations that are associated with Western hegemony? The purpose of this research project is to reveal the underlying driving forces for Russia’s ban on GMOs and analyze its impact on Russian food markets, the political situation within the country, and Russia-U.S. geopolitical rivalry. Using a political economy framework and a mixed-methods approach, I will study the government’s incentives in decision-making and political and economic impacts of the policy within and beyond national borders.