Vodka brand is changing its name due to Russian connotations

By our News Team | 2022

Stolichnaya Vodka, which is not based in Russia, is to be called Stoli in future as it seeks to distance itself from a consumer backlash.

The war in Ukraine has created a large number of business casualties, not least vodka brands that have been removed from the shelves in various countries due to official or consumer pressure. Problem is, not all of those brands are Russian.

Stolichnaya Vodka is one such example. Based in the European nation of Latvia and with an owner who is strongly anti-Putin due to being exiled from Russia for his anti-Putin stance, the company has decided to rebrand to Stoli Vodka.

It hopes this name change will help it avoid the backlash being experienced in various countries. In the UK, vodka products have been removed from stores due to anti-Russian sentiment, while in the US people have taken to pouring vodka down drains – including Stolichnaya in some instances.


Photo credit: Stoli Group

According to the company, its employees are also on board with the rebranding, partly because they have been looking for ways to show their displeasure at Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

Brand owner has been living in exile

In a media statement, Stoli Group founder Yuri Shefler said: “While I have been exiled from Russia since 2000 due to my opposition to Putin, I have remained proud of the Stolichnaya brand.”

As a result, the business had “made the decision to rebrand entirely as the name no longer represents our organisation”, Shefler stated.

“More than anything, I wish for Stoli to represent peace in Europe and solidarity with Ukraine,” he added.

Since Russia’s action, a large number of major corporations have withdrawn, suspended or cut back on their business activities in the country – which has a market of 144-million people.

Among the companies are Nestlé, Unilever, Adidas, Shell, BP, Western Union, American Express, Ikea, Heineken, Starbucks and Renault.

Dr Kin Kariisa

Group CEO - Next Media

Dr. Kin Kariisa is an extraordinary force at the helm of Next Media Services, a conglomerate encompassing NBS TV, Nile Post, Sanyuka TV, Next Radio, Salam TV, Next Communication, Next Productions, and an array of other influential enterprises. His dynamic role as Chief Executive Officer exemplifies his unwavering commitment to shaping media, business, and community landscapes.
With an esteemed academic journey, Dr. Kariisa’s accolades include an Honorary PhD in exemplary community service from the United Graduate College inTexas, an MBA from United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya, a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering from Huazong University in China, and a Bachelor’s degree in Statistics from Makerere University.
Dr. Kariisa pursued PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radboud University in Nijmegen, Netherlands. As a dynamic educator, he has shared his expertise as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at both Makerere University and Radboud University.

Dr Kin did his PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radbond University in Nigmegen, Netherlands. He previously served as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda and Radbond University in Netherlands.

Dr Kin did his postgraduate courses in Strategic Business Management, Strategic Leadership Communication and Strategies for Leading Successful Change Initiatives at Harvard University, Boston USA.

  • Other current and previous roles played by Dr Kin Kariisa:
  • Lecturer of e-Government and Information Security to graduate students at Makerere University, Kampala and Radbond University in the Netherlands
  • Director of Eco Bank Uganda Limited, one of the largest banks in Africa
  • Chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters, an umbrella industry association for all Television, Radio and online broadcasters in Uganda.
  • Chairman of Board of Directors of Nile Hotel International, that owns the leading hotel in Uganda, Kampala Serena Hotel.
  • Chairman of Board of Directors of Soliton Telmec Uganda, the leading telecom company in Optic fibre business managing over 80% of optic fibre in Uganda.