Russian Food Markets in Vienna Under Pressure

PeopleOther ♦ Published: June 28, 2022; 13:58 ♦ (Vindobona)

Specialty foods such as vodka, buckwheat, and chocolate are available in Vienna's Russian groceries. Since Moscow invaded Ukraine, Austrian-Russian traders have been worried about import difficulties and hostility.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the relationship between Austria and Russia are at a low point. This is also felt by Austrians of Russian origin. / Picture: ©

Vienna has a lot of grocery stores selling Russian products. Russian grocery stores usually carry products from the entire former Soviet Union. Shortly after the war began, Ukrainian products briefly stopped coming.

According to ORF, Russian grocery store operators reported that “everything that had to do with wheat and grain from Ukraine, such as cookies, but also sunflower oil, suddenly stopped coming." But for the moment, the shelves are filled. According to ORF, a German subcontractor who imports the products from Belarus continues to deliver to small grocery stores in Vienna. The food vendors, mostly Austrians of Russian descent, are unsure whether the sub-dealer in Germany will continue to supply.

EU sanctions against Russia do not currently affect food products. But some food products could be held back by the government in Moscow, according to the Austrian Chamber of Commerce (WKO). Since transport by plane and ship is currently under sanctions, the only option left is truck transport. This is driving up prices, according to ORF.

Also, many hostilities are reported, for example, according to ORF, the window of a Russian general store was smashed. The window of a store in the fourth district of Vienna was shattered. Unknown persons had smashed it overnight. "I was shocked but at least nothing was stolen," says the owner, Natalya Abramova. On the glass wall of another Russian store hangs a sign reading "Нет войне" - Russian for "No to war." But despite this, stickers were suddenly stuck on her store in the morning, with written on it "No to Russian pigs".

Since Russia invaded Ukraine, there has been hostility against Russian food markets, according to ORF. The Russian Embassy in Vienna also expressed anger in a press release in early June, noting a wave of anti-Russian hostility in Austria.

But according to ORF, despite the hostility, the number of customers has not decreased. Ukrainian refugees now shop in Russian grocery stores, Natalya Abramova said to ORF: "The eating habits of Russians and Ukrainians are similar. Many are not yet familiar with Austrian cuisine and want to eat familiar food. My clientele has almost doubled."

Russian Embassy in Vienna

WKO Austrian Federal Chamber of Commerce