When you think about the Russians, what do you think about? I asked a bunch of people, and they all seemed to have the big screen vision of Russia, filled with snow year round, the Russian mob running the lives of every single person. The Secret Police needed jobs after the downfall of Socialism and so they became mobsters. They hang around smoking dark Turkish sun cured tobacco cigarettes and whacked old men and women in the head with the butts of their AK-47's if they did not avert their eyes when they approached. Stores had limited produce in the summer, potatoes all winter. And cabbage on good days. And all the bad guys have nuclear bombs in their basements waiting to sell them when the price is right.
It sure seems like that is the Hollywood version of Russia. I haven't been there, but I do know someone from Minsk, and some others that have vacationed there. That isn't the way it is. Modern Russia is a thriving modern place, foods and consumerism are rampant there. With one exception. The modern Russian government seems to actually give a crap about their citizens. Well, I mean you can still buy those harsh sun cured Turkish ciggies that would kill an elephant if inhaled, but for the most part, there are things missing from stores there that are available elsewhere. And those pesky Russian leaders have refused to allow the stuff into their country. And it isn't because of political reasoning, it quite simply is because they recognize the inherent toxicity of the products and refuse to allow them to be consumed by their people.
Russians have banned all meat that was raised in the United States. Seems that they recognize that the known carcinogen Ractopamine that American producers use to get beef, pork, sheep, ducks, turkeys, and chickens to put on lean muscle mass faster yet allowing the animal to become crazed, unable to walk in cases, and seemingly in a blind rage similar to mad cow disease, is not something that they want their citizens to eat. 90% of American beef is raised using Ractopamine. It is banned in every other country in the world. Yet we Americans get to eat it in every fast food burger and taco we eat. The Russians took the stuff one step further and banned meat raised using the stuff, the rest of the world banned the use of Ractopamine, but not the importation of American meat raised using it. They don't like to play nice with big business. Since 2006 the Ruskies have banned farmed salmon from their neighbor Norway, and from everywhere else. Yikes, salmon, really? Yeah, they recognized that the methods used along with the toxic feeds used in farming methods were not healthy, and that the end product is far far inferior nutritionally and the levels of cadmium, mercury and lead make farmed salmon a very bad dietary choice. It seems heavy metals are part of the feed. All part of the insecticide and herbicide residues that make up the grains that go into the feed. And in Norway, Genetically Modified Organisms are banned from human consumption, but they make up most of the grain constituent of salmon feed. Personally, I don't eat farmed salmon, ever. I guess the Russians recognize the same things I do. Maybe one reason that a quarter of the 11,000 people reading my blog are Russian.
All of this stuff about farmed salmon means a whole lot more since last week the four largest grocery store chains in Norway have demanded that the farmed salmon industry change the methods used to raise their products, or they will not carry their product anymore. Yikes, Norwegian companies own most of the world's salmon farms. Norwegian grocers are dominated by four companies, and all four have recognized the need to change farming methods. It isn't a secret that the stuff is worse for you than you could ever imagine. Nutritionally, the product has one and a half times more fat as wild salmon, far less protein, and a third the Omega-3 fat content of wild. Norwegian grocers, businesses, are looking out for the good of their customers. Here in America, Safeway and other grocery chains give money to make sure laws to label GM foods are defeated, they don't want consumers to know what they consume. Businesses know what's best for us, well, they know what's best for their bottom line.
Back in June, good ol' John Kerry went over to Russia to talk about stuff, you know, hey, how are things over her in snow-bound Russia and all. John watches all the Hollywood movies. Anyway, President Putin refused to talk to the worthless money-grubbing crook unless he would agree to having the Americans begin to limit and ultimately eliminate the use of neonicotinide pesticides. Seems that the Russians recognize that the reason bees are dying all over the rest of the world is because of the need for Monsanto and Syngenta (makers of the horrifically toxic insecticides) to make money. Putin has stated that American use of these specific toxins in the environment could in fact lead to world war because of the resulting food shortages and environmental disasters. Yikes, Russians looking toward world war again. I'm sure that's what some thought. Me, I think those guys are on the right track. For a government to have the safety and well being of their citizens at the forefront of their actions is pretty incredible. Certainly not how the rest of the world views life in their own countries. Big businesses rule the rest of the world. And their decisions take precedence over the needs of the people, and certainly over the ability of the governments to rule.
You know I have talked about moving to Amish country to live, but I love my computer. In 1971 I was protesting the Vietnam war and joined the Communist Party. (Well there was this girl, Connie, that might be why I joined) But back then we all talked about emigrating to Russia. Maybe I should consider that now. Their government really seems to care about their citizens, I can't say that about America. Oh those pesky Russians, world leaders in philosophy.