Saturday, April 16, 2022

Chameleon Brands Spreading Across Russia as Western Ones Leave

Paul Goble

            Staunton, April 7 – Putin’s vaunted import substitution has taken a strange turn: Russian firms are opening stores with names like Crimean Fried Chicken (CFC)”, “Starducks” and “DonMak” that so clearly echo departed Western brand that the unintentionally remind Russians of what they have lost rather than encourage them to think about their own inventiveness.

            In a new article on his Accent portal, journalist Anton Chablin says that Russia is now facing “an attack of chameleon brands,” something that is spreading from Russian-occupied Crimea and Sevastopol to the cities of the Russian Federation itself (

            In Crimea, there is not only the new CFC chain which echoes KFC but also Lolo Pizza which echoes Dodo Pizza. In the Donbass, there is “the DonMak” which copies the departed McDonald’s. If more Western firms in this area depart and more want to than have in fact yet left, such things will crop up elsewhere, Chablin continues.

            The Russian government itself has promoted this trend, he says, by legalizing what it calls “parallel imports,” that is, by allowing Russian firms to produce direct copies of Western goods “without the agreement” of the law owners of the trademark.  Such copies, however, are likely to be more expensive.

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