In hopes of furthering a boycott of Russian goods, protesters are starting flash mobs to raise awareness.

The Ukrainian movement to boycott Russian goods started during Euromaidan last November. Since its neighbor annexed Crimea last month, it's gained steam. Some women are even withholding sex from Russian men

Measuring the results of these efforts are hard. But in terms of goods you'd find in a grocery store, Ukrainian news site TSN reports a 40 percent decline (link is in Ukrainian) in Russian product sales during the last two weeks of March. The disputed Crimea referendum took place March 16. 

Labels can be deceptive, however. A Ukraine-based blogger who goes by his Twitter handle, "@UA_UK_," recently noted how complicated it can be to figure out a product's origin. For example, Greenfield Tea may be packaged in Ukraine and have a London P.O. box for an address. But the company is owned by Russians.

Last week, the BBC reported on a new service that helps shoppers identify whether or not a product is from Russia. Called "Boycott the Occupiers," the app advises you after a barcode scan whether or not you should buy it. But many products one would normally identify as Western are considered by local activists as Russian. As "@UA_UK_" writes, "Nescafe and Nestle are Swiss, but their products for the Ukrainian market are produced largely in Russia." So they make the "do not buy" list.

To further the movement, flash mobs are popping up in supermarkets around the country, filling up isles with protestors sprawled out as dead bodies and holding signs that encourage customers to think before they buy:

Ukrainians lay on a store's floor, acting as dead bodies in a flash mob action protesting against buying of the Russian goods in Kiev, Ukraine, Saturday, April 5, 2014. Writing on posters reads "Boycott the Russian (goods), don't feed the occupants!" (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
A consumer passes by Ukrainians laying on a store's floor as dead bodies, in a flash mob action protesting against buying of the Russian goods in Kiev, Ukraine, Saturday, April 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
(AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
(AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. photo: a wallet full of Yen bills.
    Life

    Japan’s Lost-and-Found System Is Insanely Good

    If you misplace your phone or wallet in Tokyo, chances are very good that you’ll get it back. Here’s why.

  2. photo: bicyclists in Paris during a transit strike in December.
    Transportation

    What It Would Take to Make Paris a ‘15-Minute City’

    In her re-election campaign, Mayor Anne Hidalgo says that every Paris resident should be able to meet their essential needs within a short walk or bike ride.

  3. photo: Masdar City in Abu Dhabi
    Environment

    What Abu Dhabi’s City of the Future Looks Like Now

    At the UN’s World Urban Forum in Abu Dhabi, attendees toured Masdar City, the master-planned eco-complex designed to show off the UAE’s commitment to sustainability.

  4. Equity

    The Presidential Candidates that Mayors Support

    Big-city mayors favor Mike Bloomberg after his late entry into the race, while leaders in smaller cities have lined up behind Pete Buttigieg.

  5. Equity

    What Mike Bloomberg Got Wrong About Redlining and the Financial Crisis

    Comments about New Deal-era housing discrimination made by presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg echo a familiar narrative about minority homeowners.

×