Putin bans grain exports to give Russian economy breathing space

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Moscow, Aug.6 (ANI): Russian Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin has banned exports of grain after millions of acres of Russian wheat was left withered by a severe drought, drove up prices around the world and pushing them to their highest level in two years in the United States.

The move is the latest of several abrupt interventions in the Russian economy by Putin, who called the ban necessary to curb rising food prices in the country.

Russia is suffering from the worst heat wave since record keeping began here over 130 years ago.

"We need to prevent a rise in domestic food prices, we need to preserve the number of cattle and build up reserves for next year," the New York Times quoted Putin, as saying in a meeting broadcast on television.

He added: "As the saying goes, reserves don't make your pocket heavy."

Putin has never hesitated to marshal the power of the state to protect Russian economic interests, and this decision showed that this has remained his prerogative even after he stepped down as president.

The export ban is widely seen as one of a series of populist moves by Putin to address rising resentment over the calamitous heat wave and the fires it has spawned. (ANI)

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