Russian Shoppers Are Literally Fighting Each Other for Sugar

VICE:

Videos of Russian shoppers fighting over sugar in supermarkets have gone viral, showing just how scarce the staple food has become in the economic fallout from the war in Ukraine.

In videos coming out of towns and cities across Russia, crowds of people are shouting, jostling and climbing over each other to grab the last bags of sugar in barren shops.

Some stores have imposed 10kg rations per customer, and there have been reports of people attacking anyone they think is panic-buying. In one scuffle in the northern city of Severodvinsk, a man with five packets of sugar in his shopping basket was punched five times in the face during a confrontation with an angry shopper.

Russians who remember the turmoil of the last few years of the Soviet Union know only too well the importance of grabbing rare goods when you see them, particularly in a crisis. Sugar is usually bought in bulk by Russians who are going to preserve large amounts of fruit, or make samogon, high-proof moonshine popular in the countryside.

“It’s a madhouse,” one shopper in the southern Russian city of Volgograd told a local media outlet last week. “The shop assistants say sugar is re-stocked every now and again, but it’s immediately snapped up — people are deliberately standing watch in order to buy it all.”

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