When Moscow banned Fairy liquid, and other Western cleaning products

Images such as this circulated in Russia after the government announced it would move to take some foreign cleaning products off the market. The caption says: "Thank you Rospotrebnadzor (the Russian government consumer rights agency)" Image copyright @rentvchannel
Image caption Images such as this circulated in Russia after the government announced it would move to take some foreign cleaning products off the market. The caption says: "Thank you Rospotrebnadzor (the Russian government consumer rights agency)"

As Russian authorities took steps to remove foreign washing-up liquid and washing powder from shelves, Russians online reacted with both concern - and plenty of jokes.

The Russian consumer rights watchdog Rospotrebnadzor said it would take action against number of foreign washing products on Tuesday, including ones produced by Colgate-Palmolive, Procter & Gamble, and other multinational companies. In a statement, the watchdog said tests had uncovered toxic ingredients.

But the move was interpreted by many Russians not a defence of public health but rather the latest salvo in the heated trade war with the West that was touched off by Russia's annexation of Crimea. Earlier this month, Russia banned a variety of other Western goods including cheese and other foods. The country has itself been subjected to sanctions put in place by the EU and US.

Image copyright @ivanday
Image caption Translation: "Go away powder"

After the announcement about cleaning products, many users commented on the similarities between Rospotrebnadzor, the government's consumer protection bureau, and Russia's mass communications watchdog, Roskomnadzor, which briefly blocked Wikipedia in Russia on Tuesday over a dispute about an article on drugs.

"Police finds two grams of Persil detergent on a man in Ivanovo," the comedians of @Lie_News tweeted. "In court, the defendant tried unsuccessfully to prove that the washing powder was merely cocaine."

Image copyright @RIARIP
Image caption A satirical news account tweeted this picture. Translation: "Psst, kid. Do you want a bit of washing powder?"

One Twitter user joked about an old Russian TV ad for Fairy, the washing-up liquid produced by Procter & Gamble. "We won't waste our time [washing dishes] - we'll start eating from the dirty ones," tweeted @Shulz.

But while some greeted the news with humour, others worried about shortages of cleaning products and took the story more seriously. "How could foreign detergents possibly get in the way!!!!!!!" protested television presenter Vladimir Solovyov. "Back to bleach and ordinary laundry soap?"

Reporting by Mikhail Poplavsky

Blog by Mike Wendling

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