Absolut vodka says halts exports to Russia

AFP - [email protected]
Absolut vodka says halts exports to Russia
Bottles of Absolut Vodka in a store in the US: Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images/AFP

The maker of Sweden's Absolut vodka said Tuesday it was ceasing all exports to Russia after calls to boycott the brand flared up in Sweden and on social media.


The Absolut Company said it "has decided to stop the export of its brand to Russia."

Stephanie Durroux, chief executive of The Absolut Company, said in a statement that the company is exercising its "duty of care towards our employees and partners, we cannot expose them to massive criticism in all forms".


Absolut's owner Pernod Ricard earlier in April confirmed to AFP that it had resumed some exports to Russia, after previously halting them in March 2022 following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The company noted that since November last year Russia had changed importation regulations allowing for parallel imports of alcohol without the permission of authorised importers, thus bypassing the EU sanctions.

Pernod Ricard stressed that the decision to resume exports was done in part to protect its staff in Russia from "criminal liability" and accusations of "intentional bankruptcy". But the decision sparked massive criticism including from prominent politicians in Sweden.

Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said he was "very surprised" to learn of the decision.

Others called for boycotts, calling it a "moral collapse", "spineless" and a "gift to Putin", referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Several well-known bars and restaurants in Stockholm stopped selling Pernod Ricard products.

"The reaction over the recent days is clearly reflective of the role Absolut plays for its extended community in Sweden," Durroux said. "We acknowledge the significance of these long-standing and trusting relationships with our Swedish employees, partners, consumers, and the Swedish society at large."


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