Latvian vodka brand Stolichnaya changes its name to Stoli to prove it’s not from Russia

‘To represent peace in Europe and solidarity with Ukraine’

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Stolichnaya vodka has rebranded as Stoli following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Stoli, which is based in Latvia, said it wanted to remove any association with being Russian and that it would also stop sourcing its ingredients from Russia in the wake of Moscow’s war, in an announcement last week.

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Listing three main reasons for its rebrand, Stoli said “its founder’s vehement position on the Putin regime; the Stoli employees determination to take action; and the desire to accurately represent Stoli’s roots in Latvia” were behind the move.

Although the vodka brand has always been based in Latvia, the name and Stolichnaya is widely recognised as being a product of the Soviet Union and later the Russian Federation – which countries and consumers around the world are now boycotting because of president Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine.

Stoli will now be sold in the United States and European markets without the Russian name however, and Stolichnaya will continue to be produced in Russia by a separate firm that has produced a vodka of the same name for the Russian market, reports said.

Yuri Shefler, Stoli’s founder, said in the brand announcement that he was an opponent of Mr Putin, and has banned from the country since 2002 for speaking out against the Kremlin.

“While I have been exiled from Russia since 2002 due to my opposition to Putin, I have remained proud of the Stolichnaya brand,” Mr Shefler said. “We have made the decision to rebrand entirely as the name no longer represents our organisation. More than anything, I wish for ‘Stoli’ to represent peace in Europe and solidarity with Ukraine.”

Many brands in Europe and the US have taken the decision to remove any Russian association or pull their operations from Russia as a sign of solidarity with Ukraine and in opposition to Moscow.

Stoli said it will also support World Central Kitchen (WCK), a non-profit organisation working to provide food on the frontline of global crises including in Ukraine right now.

The brand has since launched a social media campaign to avoid any remaining doubt about its Latvian roots and pro-Ukrainian position.

The Independent has a proud history of campaigning for the rights of the most vulnerable, and we first ran our Refugees Welcome campaign during the war in Syria in 2015. Now, as we renew our campaign and launch this petition in the wake of the unfolding Ukrainian crisis, we are calling on the government to go further and faster to ensure help is delivered. To find out more about our Refugees Welcome campaign, click here. To sign the petition click here.  If you would like to donate then please click here for our GoFundMe page.

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