Russia Freezes Food Prices as Election Looms

Across the globe, rising agriculture costs take a political toll
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 24, 2007 10:54 AM CDT
An elderly woman buys tomatos at a street market in the Russian southern city of Rostov-on-Don, about 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) south of Moscow on Thursday, Oct. 18, 2007. A sudden surge in food prices...   (Associated Press)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – In an effort to halt spiraling food prices ahead of parliamentary elections, Russia will today sign an agreement with its biggest grocers that freezes the cost of basic foodstuffs at October 15 levels. But while the move sounds a bit Soviet, Russia joins a host of nations in reacting to surging agricultural costs with price controls and lowered import tariffs, reports the Financial Times.

China, Egypt, Jordan, Bangladesh, and Morocco have all introduced price ceilings as governments take drastic steps to prevent electoral fallout from surging food prices. "Everybody understands what the government is doing," said one food industry exec in Russia, which faced hikes of between 7.2% and 13.5% in September alone. "It is part of their election campaign."