When you wish to ban something in Russia, and hope to placate the populace while taking away something of value, the tried and true formula is to suggest a nationalistic reason. Consider for instance, cosmetics. Taking away the most coveted Western cosmetics from a fashion conscious Russian woman could be dangerous to a man’s health. But, if you frame the ban in terms of building a better and brighter future, it might work for awhile.
With the announcement of the government’s project to eliminate foreign pharmaceuticals, spearheaded by Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev, the language used was one of Russian nationalism: развитие отечественного производства медпрепаратов.
The linguistic translation of that phrase is: domestic development of Russian medical products. The factual translation: you are screwed, but should pretend that the sacrifice is for the Motherland. If you have doubts, just think of Russian batteries and Russian condoms. We rest our case.
Of course not all such efforts in this land are truly serious. The same announcement came with the assurance that medicines coming from member states of the Eurasian Economic Union would be exempted. Since those neighboring states leak like a sieve when it comes to sanctions, the same products will find their way eventually onto retail shelves–at a higher price naturally.
As for the attempt to develop domestic products, Russian oligarchs seem interested in not much other than petroleum and raw materials. Sadly, most Russians cannot imagine themselves competing on the world marketplace in other spheres anytime soon.