Russian confectionery co supporting war efforts seeks entry into Estonian market

  • 2023-08-10
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - A Russian confectionery manufacturer aims to enter the markets of "friendly countries", which they believe also includes Estonia, Postimees reports.

Russian economic publication RBC reports that the confectionery factory Elza from the Krasnodar Krai is preparing to supply its products -- cookies, marmalade, pastila, and others -- to Estonia. This enterprise, located in the city of Armavir, now organizes regular deliveries to Estonia and Iran.

Company director Tamerlan Kazakov mentioned that the firm intended to expand its cooperation with EU countries, but now the focus is more on cooperating with what he called "friendly countries", including Estonia.

Rus.Postimees, the Russian-language online edition of Postimees, investigated the producer of the pastila and candies planned to be sold in "friendly Estonia" and discovered that the confectionery factory Elza supports the Russian military with its products.

For this, Kazakov received a letter of appreciation this June from the commander of the 1st Motorized Rifle Battalion of military unit number 38838, which he posted on both his Instagram and VKontakte profiles, captioned: "Strength lies in unity."

Kazakov's social media profiles suggest that the company's support to the military is likely voluntary, not coerced, according to Postimees.

He has received more than one letter of appreciation. For instance, Elza sent humanitarian aid to the occupied Kherson region in Ukraine. There is a thank-you letter from the legislative assembly of the region, and Kazakov also speaks of this acknowledgment in his Instagram post.

Kazakov's stance on Russia's military aggression in Ukraine is clear -- his social media contains many war-themed posts, videos with veterans and children from Yunarmiya. The latter is a nationwide military-patriotic movement for children and youth established in 2016 on the initiative of the Russian Federation's Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu.

Kazakov has strong ties at the local, regional, and federal levels, evidenced by a shared photo with the Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin and links with other high-ranking public officials.

Whatever these connections might be now, it is clear that the confectionery company receives state support through the Armavir city government, and company head Kazakov presents himself on social media as a true patriot supporting Russia's aggression in Ukraine.

Postimees inquired from Estonian retail chains whether they would sell goods produced in Russia and if they even consider it possible now. Selver CEO Kristi Lomp told Rus.Postimees that Selver does not sell goods made in Russia and does not plan to do so in the future.

Similarly, Oliver Rist, purchasing director at Coop Estonia, said that right after the full-scale invasion started, Coop ended its cooperation with producers and wholesalers from Russia and Belarus.

"We have not continued this cooperation and, of course, we will not do so until the military aggression against Ukraine ends," he said.