A survey last month found that 85% of Russians said that the food import ban did not pose any serious problems to them. But the risk is that the longer shoppers encounter barren shelves and higher prices at the market, the less enthusiastically they will support their government’s stand-off with the West.

The falling ruble already is causing tempers to fray among business leaders, with the head of Russia’s second-largest bank recently threatening to take critics “outside for a knuckle fight” in response to allegations that his bank was to blame. It will be a much bigger problem for the government if things get similarly testy in the supermarket aisles over the price and availability of goods on the shelves.

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