Proekt discovered that Vladimir Putin and his friends made hundreds of millions of dollars from the vodka company. The Putinka vodka brand has been owned for a long time by Ermira (the Russian president’s wallet), which was used to buy properties for Putin’s relatives.
In 2004, PromImpex, run and owned by Arkady Rotenberg’s managers, bought the rights to Putinka trademarks. Ten years later, in 2014, PromImpex gave the rights to Putinka to Real-Invest, a Russian branch of Ermira. For using the brand, the company got royalties from the Moscow alcohol factory Kristall, which is also under Rotenberg’s influence.
Proekt estimated that from 2004 to 2019 the business could make up to $500 million. The sales of vodka were conducted by East European Distribution Company, owned by Vasily Anisimov, president of the Federation of Judo, and a close friend and partner of the Rotenberg brothers.
In 2020, Putinka was taken over by Baikal-Invest, a company formally linked to Rotenberg. However, Proekt suggests that the company may still be connected to Ermira informally.
In 2005 Putinka was the best-selling vodka in Russia, selling 40 million liters under this brand. Proekt notes that at the same time there was a surge in alcohol-related deaths in Russia: 104,000 people died.
The second part of today’s Proekt investigation describes how Putin and Alina Kabayeva live together as Proekt found out.