Russia turns champagne into sparkling wine

The Russian Duma has passed a law that reserves the term "shampanskoye" - as all sparkling wine is called in Russian - for Russian products only. All others, including champagne from the French Champagne region, must henceforth be declared as "Igristoye vino" (sparkling wine). Europe's press goggles, jokes and scolds.

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Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

Why not call Ladas Mercedes while we're at it?

The Neue Zürcher Zeitung mocks the Russian legislation:

“The French are foaming at the mouth, there's no other way to put it. ... Champagne is being downgraded to sparkling wine. Now any roadside plonk with a bit of fizz grown on the country's own land can be called 'Shampanskoye'. It's as if Mercedes were made to compete in Russia under the name Murksedes, while its good old name is emblazoned on Ladas. ... According to reports, President Putin himself is behind the coup. ... Now that his bear-hunting days are over he's turned his attention to this sparkling beverage. There are rumours that when his many decades in power come to an end he'd like to retire to his own vineyard. After all, that wouldn't be a bad picture: the autocrat pulling out weeds or stomping on grapes.”

Neatkarīgā (LV) /

Boycott would hit the wrong people

Neatkarīgā applauds producers like Moët et Chandon for not blocking deliveries:

“If the producers of real champagne were to boycott the Russian market, they wouldn't be punishing Putin or the Russian government in any way. Because if these people wanted to taste a real bottle of Moët et Chandon's Dom Pérignon, they'd find a way around the boycott. ... The only ones that would be punished would be the fans of real champagne in Russia. Real champagne is one of the most expensive wines. It's bought by those who can afford it. If the producers of real champagne boycotted the Russian market, real champagne lovers would be punished.”

Echo Moskwy (RU) /

Bread and vodka for the average Ivan

This whole discussion is out of touch with reality, Echo of Moscow writes:

“When buckwheat, sugar and carrots are becoming more expensive, it's always entertaining to discuss the problems with French champagne. The vast majority of our fellow citizens have never drunk champagne, and most of the rest treat themselves to a glass once a year at New Year, as a big treat. ... Because our people have been starved for centuries and are happy when there's any food at all to be bought, and when they can fill their bellies with bread and noodles. And wash it down with vodka - but not Shampanskoye or sparkling wine or whatever it's called.”

Krym.Realii (UA) /

Parallel world with its own rules

Russia is increasingly turning its back on the rest of Europe, writes journalist Pavlo Kasarin on Krym Realii:

“The Kremlin has declared Russia a separate civilisation, which Europe has no right to condemn or even discuss. From now on, all interaction with the West will be reduced to import-export. ... But here, too, Moscow demands that Europe submit to its conditions - which is why French winemakers are promised access to the Russian market only if they rename their champagne and call it sparkling wine. Until now, Russia had tried to be the most important European in the post-Soviet space. Now it's taking a different course.”