Saturday, 26 November 2011

Russian vodka named after Gaddafi

How about this? After reading about Pakistan’s move to export beer, here comes yet another interesting news -- Gaddafi Vodka brand gets seal of approval. Yes, Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi appears set to join an exclusive roster of revolutionaries and powerful politicians after a local Russian alcohol retailer registered the slain ruler's name as a trademark this week.

This is not the first time Russia is naming liquor after politicians. Vodka brands named after Russia’s leading politicians are very popular there. A vodka brand was even named after President Vladimir Putin in 2003 as Putinka. It appeared on shop shelves in 2003, becoming Russia's most popular brand within a year. Putinka was manufactured by the state-owned Moscow Distillery Crystal company and since Putin was in power, the company played upon the name and Putin's popularity among Russians, even after his departure from the Presidency and accession as Prime Minister. Need not forget, Putinka received several awards. In 2004, advisory council of ‘Superbrand’ chaired by Alexander Shokhin awarded it the title of vodka ‘Superbrand of 2004’. In 2006, it received a national award as the product of the year in the vodka category.

Now, Aleksandrovy Pogreba, a Russian vendor selling wine and vodka, patented the “Commendatore Muammar” trademark at the RosPatent intellectual property registry, according to Kommersant radio reported on November 23.

Representatives for the alcohol retailer are not denying reports that they are on the brink of bringing out a new Gaddafi line, although they would not confirm them either, reported RIA Novosti news agency. It is believed that ‘Commendatore Muammar’ could join Aleksandrovy Pogreba’s existing ‘Commendatore’ marketing line, which currently bears the face of Che Guevara.

When President Dmitry Medvedev came to power in 2008 to become the junior partner in Russia’s so-called tandem, numerous patents such as ‘Medvedka’ and ‘Tsar Medvedev’ were registered overnight. But the authorities eventually became disenchanted with what they saw as flippant branding.

In October 2010, Rospatent denied a request by the Royalty alcohol producer to name a drink ‘Volodya and Medvedi’ which evoked the diminutive form of Vladimir Putin's first name as well the surname of President Medvedev (Medvedi, meaning ‘bears’, is literally the plural of Medvedev). A legal battle ensued, however, and Royalty appealed the Rospatent decision at the Arbitration Court as recently as November 8 this year. No such issues are envisaged for the Gaddafi line.

Support for Gaddafi remained high in Russia throughout the civil uprising against his regime and he still remains popular in the wake of his brutal slaying last month. Earlier this year, green stenciled graffiti appeared on the pavements of Moscow saying “73 percent for Gaddafi” advertising a website that supported the dictator.

Thus far, it is unclear how strong the ‘Commendatore Muammar’ beverage will be.

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