The purpose of agricultural biotechnology was initially to address challenges producers face in the production of food. Through genetic modification, crops have been developed that are resistant to drought, heat, insects, and diseases. Despite varying opinions toward GM foods, especially in European countries, the production of GM crops continues to increase. Although most European countries have already developed policies on GM foods, Russia’s official stance on agricultural biotechnology has been inconsistent. Russian President, Vladimir Putin, has named biotechnology as a scientific innovation that will benefit Russian agriculture. However, the Russian Ministry of Agriculture is encouraging the development of an “organic” agricultural market. The decisions of the Russian government will influence the rural Russian population the most regarding their opinions on the economic and environmental issues associated with producing genetically modified foods. Opinion polls and surveys have been conducted concerning the acceptance of this technology in Russia, but little has been done to determine why Russians perceive this technology as acceptable or unacceptable. That is, how do Russians conceptualize genetically modified foods? To answer this question, interviews were conducted in a rural Russian village, Dmitrov Hills. The qualitative data were analyzed through content analysis to identify overarching frames to contextualize how rural Russians conceptualize genetically modified foods. From the data, three frames emerged: not ecologically pure; it doesn’t concern me; and trust in science. The researchers also found that most participants did not understand the concept of a genetically modified food, even when given an example.
Keywords: Agriculture, Biotechnology, Genetically Modified Food, Russia