Russia's health department has announced a ban on Durex condoms, and made claims that the British company had not followed the proper registration procedures.
According to TACC news agency, the head of Russia's healthcare watch dog said:
They are not registered in the proper manner... The company must observe the law.
The claims come after over a year of attacks on condoms of all types by health administrators in Moscow, leading many to doubt the sincerity of Russia's explanation.
In 2015 a Kremlin report attributed condoms to the spread of HIV and in the same year a Cabinet adviser and former head of medical sanitation was quoted in the Moscow Times as saying this with regard to banning condoms:
[The ban] will simply make one more disciplined, more strict and discriminating in choosing partners, and maybe will do a favour to our society in respect to solving demographic problems.
As a result of this mentality, a ban on all foreign imported condoms was enacted in 2015.
Following this most recent announcement, the selling of Durex condoms which are already in Russia will also face a ban.
This is the latest escalation of hysteria in Russia regarding HIV. Don't be mistaken. The authorities aren't fearful about the spread of HIV, which is particularly prevalent in Russia. No. The administration is fearful about the appearance that HIV is prevalent in Russia.
In a report to members of the Duma last week, the deputy director of a Russian health think tank (who has a degree in history and is not a medical practitioner) argued that:
The problem of HIV/AIDS has been employed as part of the [west's] information war against Russia.
This unnerving series of events has now banned Durex. What comes next? The internet and the media have responded to the coverage in the best way possible, by ridiculing Russia and the story.
Headline writers at Agence France Presse (AFP) have been given the chance to let off steam this Friday:
Twitter piled in with further headline suggestions,
And then this from Europe's media:
Google translate says this means:
Prohibit the sale of condoms Durex Russian #Russia use the brand that are for mules
Leaving mules aside, the fallout from the ban is still unknown but given Russia remains one of the worst countries in the world for combating HIV this is an extremely worrying step.
Durex have responded to this new development:
We have been made aware that Durex products sold in the Russian Federation may require updates to its local registration. It is a purely administrative issue and neither is the quality nor the safe use of Durex condoms affected. We are working closely with the regulators to resolve the situation as quickly as possible. This matter affects only Durex products sold in Russia. No other market is affected.