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Russian 'trade war' official dismissed

25 october 2013, 10:01
Gennady Onishchenko. ©RIA Novosti
Gennady Onishchenko. ©RIA Novosti
The Russian government has dismissed the head of the consumer protection agency, a notorious official best known for waging apparent trade wars against the country's neighbours, AFP reports.

Gennady Onishchenko, 63, who had been at the helm of the consumer protection agency Rospotrebnadzor since 2004, has been relieved of his duties, the government said late Wednesday.

Under Onishchenko, the consumer protection agency, which enforces sanitary norms, was widely seen as a tool to punish Russia's neighbours seeking to closer ties with the West or for other perceived transgressions.

In recent years, Moscow has banned the import of wine and mineral water from Georgia, chocolate from Ukraine and dairy products from Europe, usually during a flare-up in relations between Russia and its neighbours.

In July, Onishchenko's watchdog banned sweets from Ukraine over safety concerns, the measure coming after apparently fruitless talks between President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart over Kiev's European Union ambitions.

More recently, Russia has criticised the quality of Dutch dairy products and hinted at possible sanctions during a diplomatic row between the two countries.

The government has repeatedly denied banning foreign imports for political reasons.

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