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Vodka Distillery Gets New Director

Published: October 20, 2000 (Issue # 613)


MOSCOW - Trailed by riot police and a court bailiff, the man ruled the rightful director of Moscow's Kristall vodka distillery took control of the plant's head office and said the long ownership dispute had ended.

Alexander Romanov took over the office of the factory from his rival Vladimir Svirsky on Tuesday night.

"I consider the conflict resolved," Romanov said. "The activities of the previous management will be assessed by the competent bodies."

The dispute began in May when Kristall's board of directors elected Romanov general director. Some board members objected, and a Moscow court ruled in July that the appointment was invalid, naming Svir sky acting director.

Before the court ruling, Romanov only controlled Kristall's operational management. All production and 90 percent of sales were controlled by Svirsky.

But Romanov and his guards occupied the production line in August, while Svirsky was camped out in the head office. The court finally reversed itself Sept. 29, ruling that Romanov was, in fact, the rightful director.

Romanov claims that the previous management - for which Svirsky served as chief accountant - drove Kristall to the edge of bankruptcy. He said investigators were checking whether there had been criminal activity at Kristall.

Svirsky denied the accusations and rejected the latest court ruling, calling Romanov's move "outrageous."

Romanov wanted to take control of the territory of the factory prior to the meeting of Kristall's shareholders scheduled for Monday, Svirsky said. The plan for the meeting was to replace the representative of the Mos cow government with the representative of federal departments on the board of directors, he added.

The state owns 51 percent of Kristall's shares, which are being transferred to the newly registered state company Rosspirtprom, where all state-owned stakes in alcohol-producing enterprises are to be held. The remaining 49 percent of the shares in the factory belong to private companies, which include Soyuzplodimport, Tekhnogres and an off-shore company incorporated in Cyprus, as well as Kristall employees.

"This is a direct threat not only to the factory, but to the government," Svirsky's lawyer, Yakov Mastinsky, told reporters. Mastinsky accused Romanov's guards of blocking everything from going in or out of the distillery, including finished vodka, and said production was grinding to a halt.

Kristall is one of Russia's approximately 180 vodka distilleries, and among the most famous. It makes the Stolichnaya brand, which is exported all over the world, along with other, cheaper liquors that sell for the ruble equivalent of less than $2 a bottle.

- AP, Vedomosti





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Aug. 29


Park Pobedy will feature the sights and sounds of the world outside of Russia during the Open Art International Festival today. Taste foreign cuisine, learn how to make tea like the Chinese or relax in a hammock during the free event. Although entrance is free, you must register beforehand if you wish to attend.



Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in “Downton Abbey” if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russia’s best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russia’s most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkin’s, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontov’s short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library System’s website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Club’s weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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