Friday, August 14, 2009

Soviet Smokes Set To Return

According to the folks over at, some brands of cigarettes popular in Russia during Soviet times are set for a comeback. The cigarette manufacturer BAT Russia relaunched the brand "The Golden Fleece" (or Zolotoye Runo in the original Russian) back in April. Other former Soviet brands: Arktika, Troika and Leningad have all recently seen a spike in their sales. Part of the reason is price - all are 'bargain' brands - but nostalgia is also a factor.

This, actually, is nothing new. After the markets opened up in formerly Communist nations across Europe in the 1990's, people flocked to Western brands that were previously banned in their countries. But an odd thing happened, after awhile, people started missing the more humble, state-run goods they grew up with and started seeking them out (the ones that were still in business at least). In fact there's a term for it: 'Ostalgie', the term comes from the German nickname 'Ossie' for people from formerly Communist East Germany. Now, apparently ostalgia is spreading to Soviet cigarettes as well.

And if you're interested in the whole 'ostalgie' idea, check out the wonderful German film Good Bye Lenin!
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