Putin Resurrects Soviet Super Chicken as a Sanctions Defense

For Putin, so much meat power in so few foreign hands is an unacceptable security risk.
Putin Resurrects Soviet Super Chicken as a Sanctions Defense
10 November 08:45 2018 Print This Article

It’s not just chickens Putin and his advisers are worried about. Russian growers of beef, pork, potatoes and even sugar beets, the country’s main source of sweetener, are dependent on genetic inputs from the U.S. and Europe.

Vladimir Putin is breathing new life into the chicken that kept Russians fed in the dying days of communism. The project is a hedge against potential U.S. food sanctions and a challenge to the two western breeders that supply all of the nation’s commercial  strains.

After a series of setbacks that included a mysterious outbreak of avian flu and the forced culling of 200,000 test fowl last year, the revamped Soviet broiler is finally ready for market trials, according to Vladimir Fisinin, the 78-year-old head of the Russian Poultry Union and one of the developers of the proprietary line.

The goal is to fill any shortfall created by U.S. curbs on shipments of the eggs and chicks that eventually become Russia’s main source of protein. The U.S. hasn’t threatened to include food in the penalties it started imposing in 2014, at least not publicly. But Fisinin, who was born on a collective farm in Siberia on the eve of World War II, said his country needs to prepare for the worst when dealing with an increasingly unpredictable White House.

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