Even as governments throughout the world imposed sanctions on Russia in response to its rising aggression in Ukraine, several small and large institutions have expressed their opposition to the conflict in their unique ways.
While supermarkets across Europe and the United States have removed Russian food and beverages from their shelves, a café in Kerala has stated that it would no longer serve Russian salad.
“We have removed ‘Russian salad’ from our menu in solidarity with the people of Ukraine,” reads a sign posted outside Kashi Art Cafe & Gallery in Fort Kochi. Since then, photos of the message board have been circulating on social media, causing quite a stir.
“We just wanted to take a stand where we wanted compassion to win and denounce the horrible attacks being carried out on innocent people by Russia,” said Edgar Pinto, the café’s owner.
When asked if they expected the café’s modest effort to become viral, Pinto stated that he did not anticipate such a response. “We weren’t looking for attention; we just wanted to say no to war.” We believe in freedom of expression as art enthusiasts, and this was one way we thought we could demonstrate our support for the people of Ukraine,” he continued.
The café’s stance, however, did not go over well with everyone on the internet. While some were in favor of the measure, others said it was “crazy” to boycott everything Russian.
In response to such criticism, Pinto stated emphatically that his establishment had no animosity toward the Russian people. “I’d like to be clear that we’re not saying we despise Russians. But we are now opposed to the policy in question, which has resulted in the deaths of so many people,” he stated.
“In truth, Russian salad is a basic salad that the Americans invented.” With a smile, he said, “You may offer the same item under a different name and no one will notice.”
Pinto, whose café’s menu changes seasonally, expressed delight that the message is gaining traction but expressed concern that it will be misinterpreted. “It’s really unfortunate that history keeps repeating itself, and we see wars being initiated in the ‘name of peace,’ but which end up destroying everything and creating refugees.” “I just hope people understand the politics,” he remarked.
Meanwhile, some pubs and restaurants in the United States have begun to advertise Ukrainian beverages. In the aftermath of the invasion, even Russian cats have been temporarily barred from participating in several international competitions.