Poland reacts to Russian embargo with apple selfies

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An apple a day keeps... the Kremlin away? That's part of the social media push by Poles after Russia announced a ban on apples and other produce from the Eastern European nation effective Aug. 1. (ViaGetty Images)

It started after a Polish newspaper published a blog where a journalist asked people to tweet photos of themselves eating apples with the hashtag #jedzjabłka, or "eat apples."

The hashtag caught on, with a Facebook page dedicated to the movement garnering more than 33,000 likes and folks sharing manymany different photos of apples on Twitter.

Speaking with the BBC, the journalist who started it all said that the produce ban was "the most hurtful thing that could happen to Polish farmers," and that he thought "the best way to help them would be to start eating more apples and drinking more cider. That way some of the apples will get consumed and people will show solidarity with farmers." 

So why did Russia make the decision that invited all of this Polish mockery over social media?

Well, Russia's official reason is that their Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillancewatchdog group found high levels of pesticide residues in 90 percent of the Polish apples they tested.

But some others believe it could be Moscow reacting to recent sanctions issued by the E.U. and U.S. over the conflict in Ukraine. (Via YouTube / RafaVideoart)

The Warsaw Voice quotes Poland's agriculture minister as saying the ban is "political repression in response to the restrictions imposed by the European Union against Russia." 

Despite Poland's lighthearted social media response, the ban's effect on the country could be much more serious.

The Christian Science Monitor notes Poland is the world's largest apple exporter, and more than half of those apples go to Russia. This ban could deal a severe blow to Poland's economy.

Russia's produce ban on Poland is only the latest in a string of embargoes, perceived by most to be retaliation for Western sanctions. These include a ban on Ukrainian soy products issued Thursday and a ban on Moldovan fruit issued in early July.