This thesis was spread by propaganda media. Reports say that wines and vineyards are being destroyed in France precisely because of the sanctions imposed by the French government on Russia. The authors add that Moscow was the largest importer of wines, but after the “sanctions war” the French “played it out” and are experiencing a crisis in the wine industry. The publications also try to point out that imposing sanctions on Russia is supposedly ineffective, and as a result, the European countries themselves are supposedly suffering. After all, they are experiencing the impact of the “lack of Russian sales market” themselves. However, this is manipulation.
The fact-checkers of the StopFake project were able to process the case, explaining that the French wine industry is indeed not in the best conditions, if not in crisis. For example, in August 2023, the French government allocated 200 million euros to recycle excess wine production. This initiative from the French Parliament is caused by excessive production and, as a consequence, a decrease in its demand. Actions by the French authorities should curb price fluctuations and support producers who are losing their income. That is, the problems in the wine industry are in no way caused by anti-Russian sanctions or other prohibitions against Moscow. The authors of the manipulative message simply used the news about the crisis situation with wine and presented it as a consequence of the “struggle” with Russia.
In general, as experts say, the level of red consumption has fallen throughout the country: primarily due to the fact that the French began to prefer craft beer. Even in one of the materials of the French daily newspaper Le Figaro they write that wine has given way to beer in 2023 and, according to recent surveys, 56% of the French choose an intoxicating drink. Also, an analytical study by the European Commission for June 2023 shows a decline in wine consumption in other EU countries: by 7% in Italy, by 10% in Spain, and by 15% in France.
As for the “large Russian sales market”, the main consumer of red wine and importer has always been China, not Russia. In particular, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the cessation of Chinese wine supplies even then had a negative impact on the entire wine-growing region of the country. And now wine producers cannot reach pandemic level exports.
Russia is trying to distort the impression that sanctions supposedly do not affect it, while other countries that are economically stable and ready to impose restrictions on Moscow are suffering from the “reverse effect”. But, let’s say, they suffer from the lack of the Russian market. The Kremlin systematically cultivates rhetoric about the so-called “big Russian market” in order to hint that the EU countries will not survive at all if they do not sell their goods to Russia. If they resist, they will face the same fate as the French wine industry. However, according to monitoring by the Kyiv School of Economics, as of July 2023, 254 companies (7.6% of companies that received income in Russia in 2022) have completely ceased their activities in Russia. And 1,191 (35.9% of the total) foreign businesses also folded. Companies will one day abandon Russia, not seeing this as a risk for themselves.
By the way, according to the European Council, 2022 was a bad year for the Russian economy. According to experts, in 2022 Russia's gross domestic product fell by at least 2.2% under the best scenario and to 3.9% under the worst-case scenario. The Russian economy will continue to contract in 2023. GDP is expected to contract by 5.6% or 3.3%.