Food has been crucial to the survival of regimes since the emergence of early states. Yet despite its significance, until recently food availability was rarely discussed as a principal political issue outside the global South. This essay centers on the political role of food in Putin's Russia and the Kremlin's longstanding goal of establishing nutritional autarky that would insulate the regime from dependence on food imports. We present the origins of Putin's food policies, their ideological basis and the forms that they have taken since early 2000s. We also discuss Russia's use of food as a weapon during the 2022 war in Ukraine.