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29 Responses

  1. Tim Newman says:

    Given that Baltika is 84% owned by a Carlsberg and Scottish & Newcastle joint venture, it’s not surprising that Baltika is being heavily marketed in the UK. As I understand it, Baltika 7 was always an “export” beer anyway.

    Baltika 5, 3 and 7 taste pretty good, but unfortunately they leave me (and many others, it turns out) with an awful headache the next morning, so I’ve had to stop drinking them.

    That said, I’m sure it’ll be a big success in the UK. It’s not like the Brits don’t like foreign beers, is it?

  2. Sean says:

    Baltika has been sold here in LA for at least 6 years now. We also have a increasing selection of vodka–Russkii standart, Beloe zoloto, Yuri Dolgurukii, Imperiia.

    I totally concur with Tim. I also had to stop drinking Baltika because of the horrendous hangover headache.

  3. One can easily get it in Brighton Beach. At last notice, Baltika has a US based distributor contact.

    Baltika isn’t considered Russia’s best brew.

    BTW, note its two headed eagle logo. The two headed eagle being the historic emblem of Russia, which contrary to some had a proud pre-1917 past.

  4. GER O'BRIEN says:

    ”BTW, note its two headed eagle logo. The two headed eagle being the historic emblem of Russia, which contrary to some had a proud pre-1917 past.”

    Yes it had. And nobody said otherwise. But now no-one cares much for it. Its a gimmick, ressurected by Yeltsin, which means little or nothing to most Russians now I would think.

    Baltika is rough stuff, but then again so are most Russians beers the morning after. The hangovers from Kilinskoe and Nevskoe are atrocious, reminds me of Fosters a bit. Starii Melnik is a nice beer and the next day isnt too bad.

  5. Tim Newman says:

    I’m glad other people on here acknowledge the headache-inducing qualities of Baltika. I never had the problem when I drunk it in St. Petersburg, and I was wondering if it was the stuff that was brewed in Khabarovsk which was somehow different. Something to do with the Amur water being different from that of the Neva. Or maybe I’m just getting older?

    Anyway, I’ve enjoyed a Bochka or Nevskoe now and then, and occasionally over here a Siberskaya Korona, but I stay off the beers entirely now (except at barbecues, when local Korsakov beer is bought in 2 litre plastic bottles, stuff which is seriously strong). My tipple of choice is Russki Standart, and being from St. Petersburg it ticks all the right boxes with the vozhd’ (is there a feminine version of that word?).

  6. “Yes it had. And nobody said otherwise. But now no-one cares much for it. Its a gimmick, ressurected by Yeltsin, which means little or nothing to most Russians now I would think.”

    ***

    Not quite and “no gimmick”. That’s the proud historic emblem of Russia. The fact of the matter is that Russia’s prolonged historic emblem has gained in usage and rightfully so. Among other factors, see the contemporary apparel of the national Russian teams, contrasted with what was worn during the Yeltsin years.

  7. GER O'BRIEN says:

    ”Not quite and “no gimmick”. That’s the proud historic emblem of Russia”

    It was a total gimmick introduced by Yeltsin to try and stir some sort of nationalism in Russians at the time. Yes, its on sportswear -and? Ordinary Russians have no love for it. It is what it is – a symbol of the Russian state, whose primary job is to make life as utterly miserable as possible for the vast bulk of the people there. Get over it already.

  8. “It was a total gimmick introduced by Yeltsin to try and stir some sort of nationalism in Russians at the time. Yes, its on sportswear -and? Ordinary Russians have no love for it. It is what it is – a symbol of the Russian state, whose primary job is to make life as utterly miserable as possible for the vast bulk of the people there. Get over it already.”

    ****

    The end of the above quoted is quite revealing. In point of fact and for good reasons, Putin is quite popular when compared to his fellow heads of state.

    The Russian two headed eagle has become more widely used during Putin’s presidency. It remains the official emblem of Russia and is referenced in the words of the current Russian national anthem, composed during Putin’s presidency.

    As previously noted, it’s now commonly displayed on the sports apparel of Russian national athletic teams.

    There’s no mass popular movement to replace it.

    I’m not the one who needs to “get over it”. I deal with reality.

  9. GER O'BRIEN says:

    ”The Russian two headed eagle has become more widely used during Putin’s presidency. It remains the official emblem of Russia and is referenced in the words of the current Russian national anthem, composed during Putin’s presidency. ”

    That doesnt make it popular at all. Its a state symbol, just as I said above. It’s not beloved or cherished by Russians at all.

    ”As previously noted, it’s now commonly displayed on the sports apparel of Russian national athletic teams.”

    And? Again that doesnt validate its popularity.

    ”There’s no mass popular movement to replace it.”

    Again, doesnt validate its popularity. Marmite is hardly loved by the Irish or British, but its available there. Yet there is no mass movement to have marmite removed at home.

    ”..Putin is quite popular when compared to his fellow heads of state.”

    Doesnt prove the popularity of the eagle. Her Indoors aka She Who Must Be Obeyed is a huge Putin fan, but says the eagle means nothing to Russians really. Its just THERE. But being Russian in your view is likely a disqualification for having an opinion on these things.

  10. The Russian two headed eagle has increased in usage during Putin’ presidency. CHECK

    There’s not much in terms of oppostion to it. CHECK

    Is Marmite the state emblem of Eire and-or Britania?

    Then there’s this earlier quote at this thread from someone who had previously (at another venue)disputed whether Russians have a love of their country like Americans do for theirs (this last point was rebuked by someone who the host of another blog stated was “intelligent”):

    “Ordinary Russians have no love for it. It is what it is – a symbol of the Russian state, whose primary job is to make life as utterly miserable as possible for the vast bulk of the people there. Get over it already.”

    Reality is on my side. CHECK

    I know enough about Russia and Russians to validate what I’ve communicated on this matter.

  11. GER O'BRIEN says:

    ”Reality is on my side. CHECK”
    Well, we all know that’s not the case, but anyway….

    ”Then there’s this earlier quote at this thread from someone who had previously (at another venue)disputed whether Russians have a love of their country like Americans do for theirs (this last point was rebuked by someone who the host of another blog stated was “intelligent”):”

    Mike, if you spent more time researching and less time concerning who said what and when, your articles would be a lot better. My life is infinitely richer for not caring who says or thinks whatever about me, save for the Lord Himself and whoever pays my wages.

    Mike, I could go and an rip your points to bits(none of which by the way validate your claim) but even I tire of wasting my time in pointless arguments with you, and seeing as how you’re in self-imposed exile from one venue as it is because of me, I dont want to be the cause of it happening again.

  12. You haven’t come close to ripping anything.

    Your claims lack merit seeing how you reply to me, while professing that it’s “pointless” to do so.

    Your stated use of “we” is another example lacking merit.

    Unlike others, I do in fact research what I comment about. Stating facts and making fact based comments is the kind of journalism I practice. A recent example being my documenting of Tom Lantos’ and Eliot Engel’s respective ties to Albanian-American/pro-Kosovo independence supporters.

    Some others and yourself should do more in terms of stating facts and making making fact based comments.

  13. GER O'BRIEN says:

    Mike,

    again, I was the cause of your self-imposed exile from another site, and I’m not getting into battle with you anymore, I shouldnt have said anything above as it is. Whatever suits you; my wife is Russian and says the eagle means little or nothing. But obviously your closer to Russia and know more about it and than she does. But as long as you’re happy, thats the main thing)

  14. Tim Newman says:

    I have to say, that the two-headed eagle is mentioned in the new national anthem is news to me. Then again, it’s probably news to most Russians. Most of the ones I know don’t actually know the words to the new national anthem and are content to stick with the old Soviet one.

  15. “Popularity” can have relative meaning. When compared to Russia’s current emblem, the American eagle isn’t popular. Compare the sports apparel of Russian and American national sports teams. Does the British lion appear on any UK national sports teams? As I noted elsewhere, the Russian two headed eagle is evident with Russian Cossack orgs., armed forces, government departments and sports teams like CSKA. Upon the Soviet breakup, the Russian Ice Hockey Federation made the two headed eagle its logo. It has been on every Russian national ice hockey team jersey from 1994 on.

    I don’t deny that a number of Russians don’t identify with Russia’s current emblem. It was essentially suppressed for decades. All things considered, it’s quite popular and gaining in popularity.

    On the old Soviet anthem, a Ukrainian told me that at the last World Cup, the Ukrainian team and its fans would sing the old Soviet anthem after matches.

    As for the other point raised: I’ve no interest
    participating at a venue where the moderator shows a blatant bias for crank like jabs, while calling a bogus foul when someone addresses those cheap shots. Likewise with the participant who covers up his lack of knowledge on a given subject by highlighting his knowledge of several languages, while not being so proficient in his own native tongue.

    Immediately after my last exchange at the mentioned venue (not specifically named for the purpose of addressing what was said in as non-flame war a manner as possible), I received a JRL, which had stopped being sent to my Yahoo account. It was only one issue. None were sent to me thereafter. A political mesaage of sorts perhaps.

    Regardless, it isn’t going to stop me from commenting on FSU matters in the kind of manner I choose. Unlike others, I don’t believe in giving power to someone who manipulates people into issuing forced apologies and changing the content of their written material.

    Unlike some others, I prefer dealing with the issues in an honestly up front manner, minus behind the scene salami tactics.

  16. If the two headed eagle isn’t so popular, why would market savvy Baltika have it?

    I know that some like Limonov aren’t fans of it.

    That doesn’t take away from my initially stated point at this thread.

  17. Lyndon says:

    Without getting into the question of the two-headed eagle more broadly, I’d like to point out that it’s not actually on Baltika’s logo or any of its marketing/branding materials in Russia (see their website here, which has an interesting flash animation showcasing the various Baltika numbers – pull the train window curtain down for the full list).

    The UK ad also talks about the beer emerging “from the fall of the Iron Curtain,” not exactly something that would be included in an ad campaign in Russia. So it seems like the people in charge of the UK ad campaign might have realized that the eagle is something associated with Russia by people who live in the UK (though it’s not to be found anywhere on Baltika’s English-language website either, although I confess I didn’t do an exhaustive search).

    Baltika’s marketers in Russia don’t seem to think the eagle is particularly resonant with the Russian public, especially since a perusal of the cans/bottles of their many brands (not the numbers of Baltika, but brands like Nevskoe, Arsenal’noe, etc. – n.b., the website is quite thorough and the Russian version seems to tell you which factories make the various brands of beer the company produces, which might be interesting for some) shows that none of them has a double-headed eagle anywhere on the logo.

    In fact, it may be the case that it’s illegal to use “state symbols” for commercial purposes – I seem to recall hearing something about shops which used the word “Russia” in their name getting in trouble with the authorities at one point, though of course this didn’t happen to Russkoe Bistro, thanks to its kryshevanie by Luzhkov. So maybe they actually aren’t allowed to use the eagle in their logo, although I’m far from sure about that.

    As for quality, I drank an awful lot of Baltika in SPB in 1996 (the porter was quite good back in the day), and it’s never been as good since. I haven’t had it in the past few years, but as I recall, by 2004 the only Baltika numbers that were worth choosing over others were devyatka – superior to other brands’ “krepkoe” options and of course only of use on an extremely cold day in any event – and the non-alcoholic “zero” – also superior to other brands’ n.a.b. options. The best beer to choose in Russia is almost always the local draft beer if you have that option – bottled and canned beers suffer greatly from exposure to wide ranges of temperature and from sitting on the shelf for too long.

  18. Tim Newman says:

    Does the British lion appear on any UK national sports teams?

    Off the top of my head:

    The English Football Team
    The English Cricket Team
    The Scottish Football Team
    The Great Britain Rugby League Team
    The British Olympic Team

  19. The Russian community in Britain consists of MANY Soviet born Russians.

    I’ve a bottle of bottled in Moscow Slavanskaya Rye, with the two headed eagle engraved in the bottle. It was given to me as a hioliday gift by a Russian government official.

    “Off the top of my head”, the two headed eagle is evident on the Russian national sports teams in:

    – ice hockey

    – football (soccer)

    – athletics (track & field)

    – basketball

    – tennis (Davis and Fed Cup)

    Like I said, the two headed eagle’s presence in Russia increases. It’s therefore incorrect to believe that Yeltsin popularized its use more than Putin.

    On honoring Russia’s past, a high profile rather positive documentary entitled “Russians without Russia” (hope I’ve the translation right) was made a few years back (I believe it was released in 2003). It’s about the Russian Civil War White leaders Denikin, Wrangel and Kolchalk.

  20. For clarfication, the last point of my last post relates to a Russian made documentary.

    I forgot to mention the Russian speed skating team as one of the national sports teams showing the two headed eagle. I’m sure there’re several others which I haven’t mentioned.

  21. Tim Newman says:

    Actually, it seems as though the only reason the two-headed eagle is used for the Baltika advert is in relation to the caption underneath:

    From the fall of the Iron Curtain rises Russia’s No.1 beer.

    It is taking the form of a phoenix. Clever, eh?

  22. It being related to Russia’s emblem must play some role in its use as well.

    As previously noted at this thread, it’s used by other Russia orgs.

  23. Nathan says:

    As others have noted, there are a few kinds of Russian beers available in the US. I enjoyed picking up Baltikas every once in a while in Seattle. I’ve yet to find a place that sells them here in the Kansas City area. (And truth be told, I’d be surprised were I to find a vendor…)

  24. In my frig, I’ve Baltika “Dark Beer” with a ’02 bottle date (better down it soon).

    The label says: Imported by RussBeer International, LLC, Brooklyn, NY, 11229

    As has been suggested at this thread, Baltika is the most popular name brand of Russian beer. Kind of like how Stoli is the most popular of Russian vodkas. Yet, among the connoiseurs of such matter, Stoli and Baltika aren’t considered as being Russia’s best in their respective markets.

    For that matter, volume over quality relates to comparing Budweiser (the American and not Czech version of Budweiser) to Samuel Adams.

  25. As per a point in my last posted comments, RussBeer and Baltika had a falling out:

    http://www.kommersant.com/pda/doc.asp?id=764829

    A quick (stress quick)look at the Baltika web site didn’t seem helpful for those seeking the product in the US:

    http://baltikabeer.com

    Awhile back, I recall contacting that site and receiving a message from a Pittsburgh based vender who said that he could arrange to have Baltika sent to just about any area in the US.

  26. GER O'BRIEN says:

    ”As for the other point raised: I’ve no interest
    participating at a venue where the moderator shows a blatant bias for crank like jabs, while calling a bogus foul when someone addresses those cheap shots. Likewise with the participant who covers up his lack of knowledge on a given subject by highlighting his knowledge of several languages, while not being so proficient in his own native tongue.”

    Mike, that is not what happened at all. Some points were made. You called them baseless with no explanation. I asked for one. Unable to provide any counter points, you lost the plot and got your knuckles rapped. If everyone who got spoken
    to by the referee in a soccer match got as upset as you did, there’d be no players left on the field. There were no cheap shots that day – you were simply beaten in the argument and started dishing out dirty tackles. That is all.

    Now, back to the eagle. All those points above are in no way whatsoever relevant to your argument that the eagle is popular. It is not. I know this because I’ve spent the guts of 12 years in and out of Moscow and am married to a Russian and know tons of Russians. You may discount this experience as irrelevant but I’m fairly sure other many readers wouldnt. The eagle is a symbol of state power, NOT a benign insignia. It is meant to intimidate; it does not signify anything nice at all. I think its a cool looking thing – my wife even bought me the hockey jersey that the Russian team wore at Torino 06 – and I’ve often asked Russians what they thought of it. The response is invariably a shrug of the shoulders and grimace, as if to say ”so what”? To be honest, I think the letters ‘CCCP’ derive much more smiles and nostalgia than the eagle ever did. You can continue to live in pre-revolution fairy-land all you want; I KNOW that Russians dont care for it. The fact that is used everywhere does not in any way signify popularity amoung the Russian people. It is a symbol of the Russian state. End of story.

    Andy, apologies for the rant.

  27. More BS from a likely source for such disinformation.

    Here’s another slam dunk to the nonsense he states:

    http://russianbaseball.org

    He claims to “KNOW” as in not really knowing.

  28. Andy says:

    It surprises me that two grown men are capable of having such a pointless and heated argument over sports logos outside of the pub.

    Tone it down, gentlemen, please – I’ll not have people throwing Baltika over each other in my gaff.

  29. I’m a grown man who has backed up my claims with supporting point of fact examples.

    The person challenging me chooses a different tact by making unsubstantiated claims to the contrary.