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A Komsomolskaya Pravda poster reads in Russian: "Respect Yourself and the Motherland — DON'T DRINK Georgian Wine!" (May 5, 2006)

The 2006 Russian import ban of Moldovan and Georgian wines began in late March 2006 and created a diplomatic conflict between the Republic of Moldova and Georgia on the one hand and Russia on the other. Wine trade with Russia is responsible for 80-90% of the total wine exports in both countries.[1]

The Chief Sanitary Inspector of Russia Gennadiy Onishchenko claimed that heavy metals and pesticides had been found in Georgian and Moldovan wines and that they were falsified alcoholic products labeled as wines. The Russian Consumer Agency claimed that it had examined 21 sorts of Georgian wine sold in Moscow and concluded that 85.7% did not comply with established requirements. Pesticides were discovered in 60% samples of Moldovan and 44% samples of Georgian wine.[2] However, the Moldovan side claimed that no proof was ever provided by the Russian side and that dozens of countries across the world imported Moldovan wines and none reported any problems. Moldova argued that the ban amounted to economic blackmail.[3]

In May 2005, Georgian Defense Minister Irakli Okruashvili admitted that "many wine producers exported falsified wine to Russia, Because Russia - is such a market where you can sell even faecal masses".[4] In the aftermath of this statement, no less than seven Georgian wineries were closed down after the government revision revealed that they had produced falsified wine for Russian exports.[5][6]

The ban on wine imports came at a time of worsening relations between the countries. The differences involved the Rose Revolution and pro-NATO/pro-EU moves in Georgia and a divergence of the Russian and Moldovan positions regarding the future of Transnistria. A year earlier, the Russian Duma had demanded a ban on Moldovan wine imports, because Moldova was considered to pursue anti-Russian policies.[7]

EU's external relations commissioner, Benita Ferrero-Waldner stated that the EU was worried about what she called an "embargo" against Moldova, but the EU couldn't take any measures since Russia was not a member of the World Trade Organization.[8] The president of NATO Parliamentary Assembly Pierre Lellouche also said, on May 5, he was deeply concerned about the Russian ban on Georgian products.[9]

From 5 May to 6 May 2006, the Russian government also banned the import of Borjomi (Russian: Боржоми, Georgian: ბორჯომი) and Nabeglavi (Russian: Набеглави, Georgian: ნაბეღლავი), two popular brands of Georgian mineral water.[10] The government claimed that it was a health hazard since it failed to meet water purity standards. The Georgian government responded by stating that the action was an expansion of the wine embargo[11] and a part of a political campaign to punish the country for pro-Western policies, a claim President Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgia reiterated at the Conference on Common Vision for Common Neighborhood held in Vilnius, Lithuania, from May 1 to 4, and attended also by the presidents of the three Baltic states, Poland, Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, Bulgaria and the United States Vice-President Richard Cheney.[12]

As tensions heighten with Russia, the Government of Georgia is considering withdrawing from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), a bloc of several post-Soviet countries, a membership of which is largely unpopular within Georgia. Saakashvili said on May 2 that the government would review whether the country was benefiting from being a CIS member.[13]

Neither the Georgian or Moldovan wines, nor the Borjomi or Nabeglavi mineral waters have been banned nor restricted in any other country besides Russia. One Russian expert has also criticized the Russian ban on "Borjomi".[14]


  1. ^ "Russian wine move draws protests". BBC. 2006-03-30.  
  2. ^ Regnum В ходе последних проверок в Москве пестициды обнаружены в 60% молдавских и 44% грузинских вин
  3. ^ "Moscova nu crede in vin". Evenimentul Zilei. 2008-04-07.  
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Russian law-makers to outlaw Moldavian wine". Pravda. 2005-03-09.  
  8. ^ "Premierul Tarlev reclamă Rusia la Uniunea Europeană". BBC Romanian. 2006-04-11.  
  9. ^ RIA Novosti (2006-05-05). "NATO official unhappy about Russian sanctions against Georgia".  
  10. ^ "Russia bans another Georgian mineral water brand". Reuters Foundation AlertNet. 2006-05-06.  
  11. ^ "Russia bans Georgia mineral water". BBC News. 2006-05-05.  
  12. ^ "Vilnius Conference on Europe’s completion in the East". Eurasia Daily Monitor. 2006-05-05.  
  13. ^ "Georgia considers withdrawing from CIS". International Relations and Security Network. 2006=05-03.  
  14. ^ "Запрет "Боржоми" назван политическим решением". BBC Russian. 2006-05-05.  

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