MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia’s competition watchdog opened a series of investigations on Friday into price rises for military goods as demand rose amid Moscow’s drive to enlist hundreds of thousands more Russians for its military operation in Ukraine.
The federal anti-monopoly service (FAS) said it was looking into reports of sharp price rises for goods ranging from ammunition to army boots at six retail outlets.
The probe concerns rising prices for “ammunition, tactical clothing, sleeping bags, thermal underwear, backpacks, trekking shoes, hiking accessories and other items,” the FAS said in a statement.
The competition regulator said it had sent requests to Russia’s largest online retailers – Wildberries, Ozon and Yandex – as well as the Sportmaster chain and two specialist military clothes and tactical equipment retailers, Voentorg and Hakki, to provide information on sales prices and dynamics over the last two months.
The investigations come after several Russian parliamentarians made complaints about price rises for military products and equipment following President Vladimir Putin’s announcement last week of Russia’s first mobilisation since World War Two.
Russia’s defence ministry says it will draft around 300,000 new personnel to support Russia’s military actions in Ukraine.
The FAS said it could open antitrust proceedings against the retailers if “signs of unfair behaviour or sellers setting unreasonable prices are detected”.
(Reporting by Reuters)