Anti-GMO Activists ♥ Russian Authoritarianism

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev recently told a group of leaders from rural settlements that when it comes to food technology, he will be calling the shots. Sneering at the success of biotechnology in America, he declared his decision that farmers and consumers will not be able to import or grow the most technologically advanced crops:

“If the Americans like to eat GMO products, let them eat it then. We don’t need to do that; we have enough space and opportunities to produce organic food.”

It’s not too surprising that authoritarian Russian leaders would slight America advances and force the use of outdated, labor intensive farming techniques, painting them as “opportunities.”

But what was really revealing was the reaction from American anti-GMO activists, who would like to see biotech banned in the US. After the announcement, the popular anti-GMO activist group “Babes Against Biotech” posted a picture congratulating Russia on its Facebook page. Quoting Medvedev and cooing that Russians “MUST FEEL AMAZING!!!,” members and visitors immediately took to celebrating the announcement.

Showing their kindred spirit with Russian autocrats, anti-GMO commenters chimed in with a photo asking Putin to “invade Monsanto.” Some asked for Russian citizenship or just offered their own heartfelt congratulations. The photo was shared over 9,000 times.

This reaction shows activists’ “authoritarian envy” when it comes to stamping out food freedom. This is not surprising given the group’s history. Babes Against Biotech was active in pushing recently passed legislation in Hawaii that bans any future planting of technologically advanced crops. The bill also forces grandfathered-in GMO papaya farmers to register with the state like criminals. Not quite authoritarian enough for Russia, but definitely a step in that direction.