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Qaddafi Vodka Brand Gets Seal Of Approval

Muammar Qaddafi looks set to join the likes of Che Guevara and Vladimir Putin in having a Russian vodka brand named after him.

Muammar Qaddafi looks set to join the likes of Che Guevara and Vladimir Putin in having a Russian vodka brand named after him.

Muammar Qaddafi appears set to join an exclusive roster of revolutionaries and powerful politicians after a local Russian alcohol retailer registered the slain Libyan dictator's name as a trademark this week.

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

According to the RIA Novosti news agency, representatives for the alcohol retailer are not denying reports that they are on the brink of bringing out a new Qaddafi line, although they would not confirm them either.

It is believed that “Commendatore Muammar” could join Aleksandrovy Pogreba’s existing “Commendatore” marketing line, which currently bears the face of Che Guevara.

Vodka brands named after Russia’s leading politicians are popular in the country.

President Vladimir Putin had been in power for four years when “Putinka” vodka appeared on shop shelves in 2003, becoming Russia's most popular brand within a year.

'Flippant Branding'

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 Qaddafi line.

Support for Qaddafi 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 Qaddafi” advertising a website that supported the dictator.

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

-- Tom Balmforth

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at