Russian Language Blog

An Unexpected Item Russians Stockpile Because of Coronavirus Posted by on Mar 26, 2020 in News, when in Russia

We already covered the incipient COVID-19 outbreak on this blog last month, before anyone knew how badly the world would be affected. Now panic buying has reached Russia, too. While there is significant overlap with other countries in terms of sold-out items, there are some Russia-specific purchases.


Image by Ri Butov from Pixabay

Hygiene and Protection

Like in many places around the world, Russian have been buying disinfectants:

  • сре́дство для рук or санита́йзер (hand sanitizer)
  • спирто́вые салфе́тки (alcohol wipes) or вла́жные салфе́тки (wet wipes)

Other popular items include медици́нские ма́ски (face masks), туале́тная бума́га (toilet paper), and мы́ло (soap).

Рост спро́са на медици́нские ма́ски в Росси́и начался́ в январе́, уже́ в феврале́ он привёл к дефици́ту това́ра.
[Rising demand for face masks in Russia started as early as January, and by February, it caused shortages of this item.]



People have also been buying food items. Popular choices include макаро́ны (pasta), консе́рвы (canned food), and са́хар (sugar).


Image by monicore from Pixabay

However, the top item of the list of in-demand foods that has come to symbolize epidemic-driven panic buying is rather specific to Russia. Meduza reports that sales of гре́чка (buckwheat) rose by 66 percent between March 9 and 15. Buckwheat is one of the more popular hot cereals (ка́ши) in Russia. It is sold whole, as opposed to ground, and roasted and is then prepared by boiling. Buckwheat is a common side dish for protein foods like fish (ры́ба) or meat (мя́со).

В го́роде па́ника, лю́ди скупи́ли всю гре́чку и рис, мно́гие перешли́ рабо́тать на удалёнку, а мно́гих сократи́ли/отпра́вили в отпуска́.

[Panic reigns in the city—people have bought up all buckwheat and rice, many have started to work remotely, and many others have been laid off/given a vacation.]


What’s the situation like where you are? How are people reacting?

In the spirit of promoting reliable health information, I am going to share links to the World Health Organization (Всемирная организация здравоохранения, ВОЗ) and CDC websites.

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About the Author: Maria

Maria is a Russian-born translator from Western New York. She is excited to share her fascination with all things Russian on this blog. Maria's professional updates are available in English on her website and Twitter and in Russian on Telegram.