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Greece: Kastoria’s fur producers out in the cold as EU’s Russian sanctions bite

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The centuries-old fur industry in Kastoria has suffered significantly, following restrictions imposed by the European Union on exports to Russia, as seen in footage on Saturday. « In Kastoria, we have more than five hundred enterprises which produce fur products. In Kastoria, we have 2000 workers, » said Nikos Katsanos, deputy president of the Fur Producers’ Association. « All this industry is affected by the European rule which does not allow us to sell in Russian Federation, our products, our fur… All (the) fur industry in Kastoria now has now stopped. » The Russian market is worth around €14 million a year to Greece’s fur industry, while the sanctions, introduced following the Ukraine conflict, also prevent sales to Russian tourists. For many of the suppliers, there’s no alternative either. « Our fur garments and our fur products in general, are made exactly for this market. » Explained Katsanos. « It is another fashion, another style, another woman’s body as you understand so these products it is not possible to sell it to European women or American women or in Asia. » For an industry already under pressure from animal rights groups, and trying to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, there’s very little good news for those communities built on the fur trade. « Kastoria is the main fur product city in the whole globe. Most of the population is occupied in this sector for many many years and the story is going back 500 years ago so it’s a big history, » said a producer, Lazaros Savvidis.

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