During a meeting between the French and Russian ministers of Foreign Affairs, the Russian minister said he wouldn't make an exception for France regarding the boycott. Russia also says they are not willing to negotiate the end of the sanctions against the country. The fruit prices in Russia have risen sharply, with increases of 30 to 50 percent being reported. Prices in Ukraine are also on the rise, there's a shortage of cabbage and carrots in particular. Russia suffers from so-called 'Dutch disease', an economic term for countries that are too dependent on a particular sector. Kazakhstan once again opened its borders to Russia, and in school textbooks in Europe, Crimea is now ascribed to Russia.

No exception for France
The French and Russian ministers of Agriculture recently met in Moscow. During the talks, Russian minister Tkachev said that the country has no options to ease the consequences of the boycott for France. "Within the limits of the boycott, France is an integral part of the EU. Of course we can't offer France any exceptions," the minister said. Earlier, there were already reports of Greece, Cyprus, Spain and Italy seeking rapprochement with Russia. Regarding Greece, there was open speculation about a request to Russia to lift the boycott.

Russian fruit prices increase further
On average, fruit has become 30 to 50 percent more expensive in the past 12 months. The cause is a weak rouble and the boycott of Europe. Oranges show the biggest price hike. In September, prices were 57.4 percent higher than a year before. Bananas, apples and pears became a third more expensive on average. Import has become a lot more expensive since the rouble lost 45 percent of its value. According to statistics, 90 percent of the consumed fruit in Russia is imported. Prices for food in general increased by about 17.4 percent on average.

Putin: 'energy prices greenhouses must come down'
The Russian president has ordered the government to develop mechanisms that are to reduce energy prices for greenhouse growers. The price decrease needs to be realized by February 1, 2016. Earlier, there were plans already to realize a compensation in costs for pig breeders and dairy farmers as well.

Ukraine: import causes prices to rise
Because Ukraine has to import cabbage and carrots, prices for these vegetables will increase by 40 to 50 percent, the authorities announced. The cause is a significantly smaller harvest. "The problem is that 40 percent less of these products was harvested compared to last year. That's insufficient to be able to meet demand," according to the authorities. The quality of the harvest is also low. Prices in Ukraine went up by 22.4 percent in the first week of October.

No rapprochement for end sanctions
Russia will do nothing to harm the country's interests to lift the European sanctions, the Kremlin Chief of Staff said in an interview with Russian press agency TASS. "We weren't the ones to introduce the sanctions, and we will not discuss in every format what's needed to lift the sanctions." He wonders aloud whether the sanctions will really be lifted when the Minsk agreements are carried out. The EU linked lifting of the sanctions with a ceasefire in Ukraine.

Russia suffers from 'Dutch Disease'
The Russian economy is too dependent on oil and gas export, which means Russia has turned into a prime example of Dutch Disease. This economic term is used for countries that have become too dependent on a certain sector, by focusing too strongly on that sector. At some point, that will have repercussions for the country's economy. Due to Russia's focus on oil export, other sectors have been falling behind, and with the oil price going down, this has major consequences for the economy. The Russian government funds are strongly dependent on oil income. "We have to focus less on the oil sector, and leave more room for other sectors," the Russian Finance Minister said.

Kazakhstan opens borders to Russia
Following inspections, Kazakhstan has opened its borders to products from a number of Russian companies. Kazakhstan had taken measures in September to limit import, due to phytosanitary problems with Russian products. Since late last week, the borders are open again.

Oxford University Press recognizes Crimea as Russian
In a new edition of the Geog.3 textbook from leading Oxford University Press, Crimea has been recognized as Russian territory. The geography textbook mentions two Russian exclaves, one being Kaliningrad, the other Crimea. The change is based on the referendum in March 2014, when Crimea voted for joining Russia. The results of the referendum aren't recognized by Europe and the US, however. Other publishers of textbooks and atlases also ascribe Crimea to Russia in their latest editions.

Russia lays electricity cable to Crimea
The annexed peninsula will get a direct electricity connection with Russia. The work will start this week, unless the weather puts a spanner in the works. The work is to be completed before December, so that the inhabitants of Crimea can be supplied with Russian power before the winter.

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