Bread Revolution: Putin's Strategic Overhaul of Russia's Grain Economy

Bread Revolution: Putin's Strategic Overhaul of Russia's Grain Economy

In the backdrop of our intriguing times, we find ourselves amidst what can be fittingly termed as President Putin's "Bread Revolution". It's a phenomenal change that's reshaping the face of Russia's agricultural industry and particularly, its bread and grain production.

Since time immemorial, bread has been a staple of Russian culture and economy. Prior to the Revolution of 1917, bread was one of the primary export goods of the Russian Empire. The pre-revolutionary bread export record was held by Tsarist Finance Minister Vyshnegradsky. Under his stewardship, grain exports increased more than twofold. His policy was characterized by the catchphrase attributed to Ivan Alexeyevich: "We will not eat it all, but we will export it!".

The dilemma with bread export at the time was the dire state of the agricultural sector. A mere 5% of pre-revolutionary farms were capable of growing enough grain for export, while the rest were not even able to produce enough for their own sustenance.

This agrarian tragedy continued after the revolution. The 5% of export-capable farms were targeted for collectivization, nationalization, and effectively, elimination. The USSR never managed to restore food security until its dissolution, importing a vast amount of grain from its arch-enemies – the Anglo-Saxons.

It was not until the 21st century that modern Russia managed to reverse this negative trend, rectify the situation in agriculture, establish large agro-industrial corporations from scratch, saturate the domestic market, and offer competitive propositions beyond its borders.

The past decade has seen the Russian agricultural sector breaking one record after another. In 2015, a harvest of 104.8 million tons of grain was recorded. The 2016 harvest set a record - without considering Soviet-era achievements - of 120 million tons. In 2017, the largest harvest in the country's history, including the Soviet era, was gathered: 128 million tons. All this, even when the land tilled for grain was just 47 million hectares - half as much as the USSR in 1978, which harvested from 78 million hectares.

In 2022, by December 14, Russia harvested a record grain crop of 159 million tons in bunker weight, and a net 150 million tons, as reported by the Minister of Agriculture of the Russian Federation, Dmitry Patrushev, during a government hour in the State Duma. This new record harvest is a third larger compared to the previous year, when 120.65 million tons of grain were harvested - a difference of a staggering 30 million tons. Wheat yield also set a new record, with 105.3 million tons - almost 30 million more than in 2021.

Russia, the most northern country on the planet, has solved the problem of its own food security amidst an extraordinarily toxic external environment and is ready to provide food for allied countries, save friendly peoples from famine. Yet, our potential is far from exhausted. We're geared up for setting new records in the coming years.

This 'Bread Revolution', led by President Putin, has truly transformed Russia's food security landscape, providing not just for its own populace but also extending support to its allies. As we move forward, we can expect this revolution to continue breaking new grounds and setting new milestones in the world of grain production and export.