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Svetlana Kruchkova

Big Food Conversation: Svetlana Kryuchkova's Interview

30.05.2011

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Svetlana Kryuchkova, born in 1950. Soviet and Russian theater and film actress, acclaimed artist of the NIS (1991). She was awarded with the Pushkin medal for significant contribution to the development of national theater and long-lasting devotion to the profession.
Svetlana, are there any certain products that you like to use but for some reason or another cannot afford right now? What kind of products are they and why can't you use them now?
Life is constantly changing, and the life of an actor even more so: there are days when I’m part of a project and working, but other days when I’m not working on anything. My salary is small, and my pension is 14,000 rubles ($500) per month… So, when I have extra work, or when I’m in a movie, I can afford to buy things that my family needs. Potatoes, buckwheat, and meat – that’s standard food in Russia. We buy less fruit and vegetables, especially in the winter, because everything is so expensive, and the products are usually just of poor quality. I’m not sure if I should be upset or happy about their increase in price… So, I can’t say that I can always buy what I want. And I never eat out in restaurants.
Do you consider the products that you consume on a daily basis to be sufficient?
Yes, I think so.
What is your biggest food-related problem?
The problem of eating healthy is definitely the biggest. Russia has turned into some kind of dumpster for poor quality products – products from all around the world. We see very poor quality products in our stores that wouldn’t be sold in any other place. And the worst part is that our children eat this stuff. I’m talking about even potatoes and bread – we should be very careful when we buy even these basic products! Meanwhile, the products that are considered “healthy” are unaffordable.
What factors influence your choice of products?
Well, first and foremost, I’m concerned with the quality of products – I don’t want them to be harmful, and only after that do I think about the price. Feeding a family is not the same as feeding yourself.
What factors do you think influence the price and availability of products?
The people responsible for food supplies are incredibly irresponsible, and the government couldn't care less. It should protect consumers instead of giving in to people whose only goal is to make money by playing with people’s health! There used to be state-run bakeries, milk factories and quality control of products. Nowadays, there is no control, and collective farms are gone. The government should really address the food problem!
Also, hunger doesn't always mean that a person simply has nothing to eat. You can eat the same set of products day after day, and it’s just as harmful! You don't get enough micro-elements and other useful elements because of malnutrition, and this can cause health abnormalities…
I’d call the current situation a crime – a crime against the people!
Have you noticed that food prices have gone up lately? Has this affected your “food habits” in any way?
We buy fewer dairy products, we rarely buy fish –because we don't know where the fish comes from – vegetables cost a fortune, and pepper smells like crop dust… I never purchase exotic fruit, because I always worry about what substances they might contain. It’s scary enough just to buy pickles and sour cabbage…
What share of your income do you spend on food?
Almost all of it, and I still have to pay for utilities and buy medicines. It’s hard… I’m the breadwinner in the family, since I’m the only one working.


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