Since the downing of a Russian military plane at the Turkish-Syrian border on November 24, relations between Moscow and Ankara have deteriorated quickly. Russia has promised serious consequences, including a set of sanctions that analysts say will hurt Moscow the most.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev was tasked by the government to study the sanctions meticulously and ensure that they hit Turkey’s economy to the worst degree possible.
As such, Russian authorities have prohibited Russians from visiting Turkish tourist resorts and have halted imports of Turkish vegetables. In addition, as of January 1, Turkish citizens will be ineligible for hiring in Russia, and new restrictions will be introduced for the ongoing Turkish contracts. While contracts that were signed with Turkish companies in 2015 will not suffer, within the next two weeks Russian authorities will compile a list of these and will present special rules for each company. And as for new contracts, as of January 1, 2016, all Turkish companies are required to obtain special authorization from the Russian government.
Daniil Kozlov, owner of a tourism agency in Moscow, says that he is unsure whether the Turkish economy will suffer, but the Russian tourism industry is already feeling the negative flow.
“Turkish companies have tourists from Central Asia, the Caucasus, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova. I’m not even mentioning Germany, the Balkans, and the rest of Eastern Europe. So they aren’t as affected as Russian authorities hope. But we in Russia have many companies that primarily focus on taking tourists to Turkey. New Year tours used to be quite popular before. And my company is one of those that was doing them. Now we lost our revenue in this direction completely,” he says.
Economist Elena Turabina says that by prohibiting the import of Turkish vegetables, Russia is making things difficult only for itself.
“This means we will have to find other sources for importing vegetables, and many other sources that are left are way more expensive than Turkey. Plus the quality is not always as good as it was with Turkish products. We have established great long-term relationships with Turkish companies, and now our vendors will have to search for new sources and abandon those relationships with Turkish companies. This makes no sense,” she adds.
Moscow resident Masha Lehina regrets that the country’s politics so often affect the social and economic lives of everyday citizens.
“First all the Europe sanctions, now anti-Turkey sanctions. In the end all these steps of our government only make the lives of ordinary citizens difficult. We used to go to Turkey every summer for a cheap but good quality vacation. Vacationing in Russia is usually more expensive than flying to Turkey.