Defying sanctions, Israel becomes second-largest importer of Russian vodka

After countries like Germany and Britain halted vodka imports completely following outbreak of Russo-Ukraine war, Israel increases imports by 23% in 2023, second only to Kazakhstan

Despite international sanctions on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine, Israel became its second-largest vodka importer in 2023, importing $12 million worth of vodka, just behind Kazakhstan, Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported on Wednesday.
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ארה"ב בקבוקי וודקה רוסיים רוסיה מלחמה אוקראינה
ארה"ב בקבוקי וודקה רוסיים רוסיה מלחמה אוקראינה
Russian vodka exports dwindle following Ukraine war
(Photo: AFP, AP)
Despite the war and the subsequent embargo, Russia's vodka export revenue reached $60 million, nearly half from Kazakhstan alone. Israel accounted for a fifth of the revenue with a 42% increase in 2023. Armenia ranked third with $4.5 million in imports, followed by Georgia and Azerbaijan at $3.9 million and $3.5 million, respectively.

Israeli entrepreneurs exploit Western sanctions

In 2022, Russian vodka exports were significantly higher, totaling $141.7 million, mainly thanks to European importers like Latvia, Germany and Britain. However, these imports were banned following sanctions imposed on Russia.
Social activist Alex Tenzer said that Israeli entrepreneurs are exploiting the Western embargo on Russian goods, buying vodka cheaply in the Russian market and selling it at full price in the West, thus making the Jewish state one of the world's largest importers of the Russian spirit.
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