July 5, 2015

"Some Russians miss their Australian rib-eye, others their Norwegian salmon, still others their Italian pasta, but it’s cheese that most yearn for."

"Its absence from the dinner table is a singular symbol of the new time — the time of Russia’s war with the West."
It is cheese that Russians write home about when they go abroad. “It’s my first time in Europe after all that’s happened,” the journalist and filmmaker Inna Denisova, a critic of the annexation of Crimea, wrote on her Facebook page in February. “And it’s exceedingly emotional. And of course it’s not seeing the historic churches and museums that has made me so emotional — it’s seeing cheese at the supermarket. My little Gorgonzola. My little mozzarella. My little Gruyère, chèvre and Brie. I held them all in my arms — I didn’t even want to share them with the shopping cart — and headed for the cash register.” There, Ms. Denisova wrote, she started crying. She ended her post with a sort of manifesto of Europeanness and a question: “Je suis Charlie et je suis fromage. I want my normal life back — can it be that it’s gone forever?”


Emil Blatz said...

Who cut their cheese?

rhhardin said...

The Kraft extra sharp chedder brick (9.6oz/$1.99)) is not very sharp, whatever problems the Russians are having.

Hagar said...

Those sanctions must have had more bite than the MSM has let us know.

Ctmom4 said...

They're back in the USSR -don't know how lucky you are,boys,

LYNNDH said...

You can bet that Putin has his cheese, and is eating it too.

Gahrie said...

Until the Russian people finally decide to stop being serfs they will be at the mercy of those like Putin.

Michael K said...

Putin has his ambitions and the wants of his people come a distant second. Sort of like Obama.

Greg Hlatky said...

How hard is it to make cheese?

If Russia was to disappear tomorrow, what would we be losing?

glenn said...

The Russians need to learn to make cheese. Then they wouldn't need to buy cheese from us.

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

"If Russia was to disappear tomorrow, what would we be losing?"

A massive, if somewhat uncertain, bulwark against Muzzie bullshit.
Send them all the cheese they can eat. And a little extra to keep their dogs regular. Oh, and the Crimea.

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

I've been conditioned by years of playing Risk to assume it was theirs anyway.

buwaya said...

Making cheese is easy. Making great cheese isn't.
Russia has dairy herds, but I've never heard of any notable cheese. For what it's worth, its only recently that the US has begun to make a bit of fine cheese. Back in the 80s (and for the most part, still) US cheese was more an industrial product than something to savor.
I feel for this lady, fine cheese is an expensive addiction. I can live with bad wine, but give me fine cheese.

cubanbob said...

If oil prices were today as the oil prices of a few years ago Putin would have removed these sanctions. Its the old import substitution game used by floundering economies.

Clyde said...

All that spying and the Russkies still haven't managed to steal the recipe for cheese?

Louis said...

Russia should be thrown off the security council. India or Brazil would be a superior candidate.

n.n said...

Correction: the West's war with Russia. Their refusal to leave Syria, Ukraine, etc., to be taken over by terrorists and left-wing ideologues, and enable a repeat of Egypt, Libya, Iraq, etc., was a real setback to Western "diplomatic" efforts under the leadership of Obama, Clinton, and Biden.

David said...

Putin says "Chicken Kiev is very good. Eat that, Comrades."

Carnifex said...

Russia is in a delicate state right now. Iy could fall into a kleptocracy based on old KGB families. Sorta like the mafia. or the old guard could die off and entrepenuership (I know spelling)sky rocket. If that happens we will see a boom like when America was great.

YoungHegelian said...

I have a client that's a "think tank" that has quite a few Russian/ex-Soviet foreign policy experts on staff. According to their stories, when you read the Russian press (in Russian, not the English language stuff), the Putin regime is telling the Russian people that they are already at war with the West, and that the West seeks to destroy Russia.

I don't understand the Russians, and I don't think I ever will. I will say, however, that I think that Russian foreign policy would go so much better if every Russian government official had the aphorism "You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar" (or its Russian equivalent) tattooed on his forearm when they can easily refer to it. 'Cause, they could really, really, really use a reminder.

cubanbob said...

Louis said...
Russia should be thrown off the security council. India or Brazil would be a superior candidate.

7/5/15, 8:13 PM"

What for? The UN is a joke so what would be the benefit? Besides Russia has something those two countries don't have: several thousand thermonuclear warheads and the means to target any place in the world. That alone guarantees a seat on the security council as long as they wish to have one. I'm sure the Ukrainians realize now their folly in trust both Putin and Clinton and the Iranians seem to understand that.

Babaluigi said...

"...I want my normal life back..."...

Do we see here, that the normal life she pines for is far different from waiting in lines for toilet paper, or whatever the State store was selling that day? That was in the past and is not what this generation grew up to expect. How quickly we forget the past! What lesson?

This is the future the Socialists among us want us to have. Surely American Socialism will work!

Laslo Spatula said...

Does this make Russian brides more or less expensive?

Czeching for a friend.

I am Laslo.

CWJ said...

Laslo, I would say less expensive now that we can expect Greek brides to flood the narket.

CWJ said...

The narket being an intersection of the drug and foreign bride trade.

Steven said...

YoungHegelian -

It's actually pretty predictable. Russia was defeated and stripped of its empire without any boots actually coming in and occupying its territory, and then went through a number of years of economic turmoil as a result. It thus is resentful, full of wounded pride, and convinced that it was defeated by internal treason rather than its own weakness. It will accordingly pursue a revisionist foreign policy under the direction of a strongman who tells them the world is out to get them; that is purely a function of its internal politics, not rational pursuit of any specific policy goals. There are at least a half-dozen parallel cases in the last two centuries.

Despite all the blather about Russian "legitimate security interests" in the "Near Abroad", there aren't any at issue in Ukraine. Ukraine in the orbit of the ineffectual EU is no more threat to the nuclear-armed Russian state than Ukraine as a Russian puppet; from a rational-interests-of-the-state perspective, Russian intervention in the Crimea and eastern Ukraine (just as it was in Georgia) is unalloyed idiocy. But as an issue for domestic politics, to keep the Russian people resentful of the Westerners who humiliated the Soviet Union (with the assistance of traitors) and drove the Red Army a thousand miles to the east, well, it's useful.

Which is why there's no way for US foreign policy to improve relations with Russia. Nod along with the Russians in Ukraine, the issue becomes Georgia, the Baltics, Transnistria, Kosovo, some border issue with Poland and the Kaliningrad Oblast, rival claims with the US/Canada/Denmark/Norway over the Arctic continental shelf, Armenia, any random Third World hellhole that used to be a Soviet client and is on the wrong side of the US nowadays, fishing rights relating to Aleutian islands, or any other excuse for conflict Putin can drum up.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

O: (lustily) Certainly, sir. What would you like?

C: Well, eh, how about a little Red Leicester.

O: I'm, a-fraid we're fresh out of Red Leicester, sir.

C: Oh, never mind, how are you on Tilsit?

O: I'm afraid we never have that at the end of the week, sir, we get it fresh on Monday.

C: Tish tish. No matter. Well, stout yeoman, four ounces of Caerphilly, if you please.

O: Ah! It's beeeen on order, sir, for two weeks. Was expecting it this morning.

C: 'T's Not my lucky day, is it? Aah, Bel Paese?

O: Sorry, sir.

C: Red Windsor?

O: Normally, sir, yes. Today the van broke down.

C: Ah. Stilton?

O: Sorry.

C: Gruyere? Emmental?

O: No.

C: Any Norwegian Jarlsberger, per chance?

O: No.

C: Liptauer?

O: No.

C: Lancashire?

O: No.

C: White Stilton?

O: No.

C: Danish Blue?

O: No.

C: Double Gloucester?

O: (pause) No.

C: Cheshire?

O: No.

C: Dorset Blue Vinney?

O: No.

C: Brie, Roquefort, Pont-l'Eveque, Port Salut, Savoyard, Saint-Paulin, Carre-de-L'Est, Boursin, Bresse Bleu, Perle de Champagne?

O: No.

C: Camembert, perhaps?

O: Ah! We have Camembert, yessir.

C: (suprised) You do! Excellent.

O: Yessir. It's ah... it's a bit runny.

C: Oh, I like it runny.

O: Well,.. It's very runny, actually, sir.

C: No matter. Fetch hither the fromage de la Belle France! Mmmwah!

O: I...think it's a bit runnier than you'll like it, sir.

C: I don't care how fucking runny it is. Hand it over with all speed.

O: Oooooooooohhh........! (pause)

C: What now?

O: The cat's eaten it.

C: (pause) Has he?

O: She, sir.


C: Gouda?

O: No.

C: Edam?

O: No.

C: Caithness?

O: No.

C: Smoked Austrian?

O: No.

C: Japanese Sage Darby?

O: No sir.

C: You... do have some cheese, don't you?

O: (brightly) Of course, sir. It's a cheese shop, sir. We've got-

C: No no... don't tell me. I'm keen to guess.

O: Fair enough.

C: Uuuuuh, Wensleydale.

O: Yes?

C: Ah, well, I'll have some of that!

O: Oh! I thought you were talking to me, sir. Mister Wensleydale, that's my name.


C: Greek Feta?

O: Uh, not as such.

C: Uuh, Gorgonzola?

O: No

C: Parmesan?

O: No

C: Mozzarella?

O: No

C: Pippo Creme?

O: No

C: Danish Fimboe?

O: No

C: Czech sheep's milk?

O: No

C: Venezuelan Beaver Cheese?

O: Not -today-, sir, no.


C: Aah, how about Cheddar?

O: Well, we don't get much call for it around here, sir.

Guildofcannonballs said...


Cowardly Americans don't eat cheese, only tasteless tripe bureaucrats allow us childlike simpletons to think is real cheese.

Bastards even name it "Real" to confuse the most provincial and ignorant amongst.

Sad sorry sacks of odorless blobs of fat.

Garbage in, garbage out.

Thanks Leftists.

Wince said...

So, the Russians must be jealous watching that Al Jazeera's July 4th video?

Al Jazeera’s digital media platform AJ+ posted a Fourth of July-themed video mocking Americans as fat, cheese-eating, gun-toting, pill-popping, racist porn watchers.


J. Farmer said...

The cheese-eating crybaby aside, considering what Russians experienced during the "shock therapy" days of the 1990s, I doubt the US/EU sanctions will do much to impact Putin. The leaked phone all between Victoria Nuland and Geoff Pyatt in which the two casually mused about who should be the next prime minister probably did not help our position. The ridiculous NATO expansionism we pursued after the Cold War has also been folly, in my view. Anyone here really interested in risking nuclear war over Estonia?

Rusty said...

Is Estonia part of NATO?
If we do. Then yes. We will confront Russias nuclear threat against a sovereign nation.
Wher do you draw the line? France? Spain? Iceland? Canada?

Hagar said...

I saw an article a few weeks back that said some official body in Russia claimed that the Baltic states' declaration of independence after the fall of the Soviet Union was illegal, and they properly still were part of the Russian Federation.
This statement caused a considerable stir in the Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania governments.

J. Farmer said...


"Is Estonia part of NATO?"

It has been for over 10 years. If Russia marches tanks and troops into Estonia tomorrow, we are at war with Russia. How quickly we forget those three words: mutually assured destruction.


"This statement caused a considerable stir in the Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania governments."

As well it should. Small, weaker countries will always have to find ways to coexist with larger, more powerful countries. I am not willing to start global thermonuclear war over the Baltic states.

Paco Wové said...

Oh, goody!

Officials: US jets scramble to intercept Russian bombers off California, Alaska coasts on July 4

Jason said...

Perhaps they were looking for cheese!

Jason said...

Coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee!

J. Farmer said...

@Paco Wove:

"Oh, goody!

Officials: US jets scramble to intercept Russian bombers off California, Alaska coasts on July 4"

If you just read the headline, you will miss the fact that bombers never entered our airspace and this action is not unusual. If a country is going to possess long-range bombers, it's going to send them halfway across the world on training runs. This is what you do with long-range bombers. The tendency of the Americans to interpret every single action of the Russians as having dark, sinister motives is one of the reasons we keep needlessly poking the Russian bear in the eye.

Sam L. said...

“Je suis Charlie et je suis fromage. I want my normal life back — can it be that it’s gone forever?” It's Russia, lady. Can't be sure, but that's the way to bet.

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

Soviet/Russian bombers have been doing long-range reconnaissance flights off our coasts since the late 1940's. Not a threat and not a training run either.

J. Farmer said...

@Cracker Emcee:

"Training run" was just the phrase I pounded at on my phone. My point simply was that this kind of activity is routine and certainly nothing to get alarmed about. In fact, the majority of what Russia does is very standard for a large power. The US' megalomaniacal desire to pursue global hegemony following the end of the Cold War has been a strategic disaster. But like most dead end strategies, it will always have its hardcore supporters who earnestly claim that the problem was not the pursuit of hegemony itself but the US simply not being hegemonic enough.

Gahrie said...


J. Farmer:

The cold war is over...you guys lost.

J. Farmer said...



J. Farmer:

The cold war is over...you guys lost."

What? An Althouse commenter making a pathetic personal attack and believing that constitutes an actual argument or even minimally responds to anything I have said? Shocking!

Seeing as I was 7 when the Berlin Wall came down, I am not sure I had much skin in the game.'

Gahrie, take some friendly advice. Turn off the AM dial and open a book.