Russia as a Food Superpower

  • Date: –17:00
  • Location: Institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies (IRES) Gamla torget 3, 3rd floor, IRES Library
  • Lecturer: Stephen Wegren is Professor of Political Science & Director of International and Area Studies, at Southern Methodist University. Professor Wegren’s research focuses on the study of communist and post-communist system and on Russia. He is the author or co-author of 18 books and more than 140 articles and book chapters. His most recent books are Food Policy and Food Security in Russia: Putting Food on the Russian Table (2018); and Putin's Russia: Past Imperfect, Future Uncertain (2018). Professor Wegren holds a PhD from Columbia University.
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  • Organiser: Institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies (IRES)
  • Contact person: Jevgenija Gehsbarga
  • Föreläsning

Following his May 2018 inauguration, President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on strategic tasks for national development to 2024 which instructed that non-energy exports rise to $250 billion. According to the decree food exports should increase to $45 billion by 2024, representing more than a doubling over the 2017 level when they reached almost $21 billion.

Increased food export would give the Kremlin enhanced global status and provide more leverage to use food trade as an instrument of foreign policy. The $45 billion level would rank Russia eighth among food exporting nations in 2017, behind Canada and before Spain. A doubling of food exports would broaden and deepen Russia’s global market penetration and increase Russia’s projection of soft power into food insecure regions.

The purpose of my presentation is to analyse Russia’s prospects for doubling the value of its food exports to 2024. The talk is organised around two main questions: (1) Can food supply increase to support a doubling of food exports by 2024? (2) Do demand-side factors among Russia’s main food customers facilitate or hinder an expansion of Russia’s food exports?

Through an analysis of supply and demand variables, I argue that despite the existence of myriad obstacles, Russia stands a better than even chance of reaching the export goal posited by Putin.

Stephen K. Wegren, Professor of Political Science at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX. He is the author or editor of 17 books on the political economy of post-communist nations. He has also published 150+ articles and book chapters in a wide range of journals and books. His research has been supported by the Social Science Research Council, the National Council for Eurasian and East European Research, the Ford Foundation, the International Research and Exchanges Board, OXFAM, and the Norwegian Research Council. Among his monographs are The Moral Economy Reconsidered: Russia’s Search for Agrarian Capitalism (2005); Land Reform in Russia: Institutional Design and Behavioral Responses (2009); Rural Inequality in Divided Russia (2014). His latest book is Food Policy and Food Security: Putting Food on the Russian Table (with Alexander Nikulin and Irina Trotsuk), published in 2018. He is currently working on a book titled Russia’s Food Revolution.