Potatoes were the only staple Russians had the purchasing power to buy more of in 2015 compared with the previous year, according to the Statistics Service. Tumbling oil prices and sanctions over Ukraine pushed Russia’s economy to its worst contraction since 2009 last year, reducing salaries and driving inflation to the fastest pace in 13 years. Families had to rely more on their own vegetable gardens, while a strong harvest also contributed to a drop in potato prices, according to Russia’s Potato Union.

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