AUSTIN, Texas — As the Russian military operation continues in Ukraine, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said he has asked the Texas Restaurant Association, Texas Package Stores Association and all Texas retailers to voluntarily remove all Russian products from their shelves.
“Texas stands with Ukraine,” the governor said on Twitter on Saturday afternoon.
The move comes as several bars across the country announced they will not serve Russian vodka as a way to show their support for Ukraine. At least one Austin bar, Barton Springs Saloon, told KVUE it was going a step further and pouring out its Russian vodkas.
But the move may be largely more symbolic than anything else, especially if the inventory has already been purchased.
Paul Isely, an associate dean and economics professor at Grand Valley State University, told KVUE sister station WZZM there are about $41 million worth of sales of Russian vodka per year.
"That's really small compared to the $1.7 trillion economy in Russia, but for a company that can be very big so if we were to decrease the units sold, it would affect the profitability of those companies and affect their willingness to support [the conflict]," he said.
Isely said hurting the companies would unlikely influence Russian President Vladimir Putin or affect the country's economy.
Sanctions have a much larger impact. The ones currently in place are making it harder for Russia to move and spend money around the world.
However, Isely said an argument could be made any small boycott helps show solidarity.
"Having this symbolism that says, Yes, there's a large group of people who are supporting this by showing it and doing this type of thing," he said. "By boycotting a product, it can help show people across the world that the United States isn't divided by these types of things."
Isely expects the sanctions in place right now will put Russia into a recession in the next three months.
The U.S. would see a 1-2% increase in the inflation rate. Prices will go up a little faster when in comes to fuel and costs for businesses will increase.
WZZM contributed to this report.
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