Russia and Ukraine Don’t Want to ‘Share a Coke’

Both Russians and Ukrainians were left angry after a failed Coca-Cola ad campaign.

Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 4.25.27 PM
Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 4.25.27 PM

Moscow and Kiev have a lot to bicker about: pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine’s east, the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014, and now, what Coca-Cola thinks about each of them.

This holiday season, the soft drink manufacturer posted a New Year’s greetings on VK, a Russian social networking site.

But the e-card, which features a snow-covered map of Russia sprinkled with Christmas trees and gifts, failed to include Crimea -- the peninsula Russia annexed from Ukraine in a 2014 move that was not recognized by most of the rest of the world.

Moscow and Kiev have a lot to bicker about: pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine’s east, the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014, and now, what Coca-Cola thinks about each of them.

This holiday season, the soft drink manufacturer posted a New Year’s greetings on VK, a Russian social networking site.

But the e-card, which features a snow-covered map of Russia sprinkled with Christmas trees and gifts, failed to include Crimea — the peninsula Russia annexed from Ukraine in a 2014 move that was not recognized by most of the rest of the world.

After a fierce backlash from Russians on social media, Coca-Cola removed the post and replaced it with one that included not only Crimea, but also the Kuril Islands, which Japan claims belongs to them, and Kaliningrad, a small region between Poland and Lithuania that is internationally recognized as Russian territory.

But when it comes to Russia and Ukraine, it’s impossible to please both, and Coca-Cola learned that the hard way when it was bombarded with insults again — this time from Ukrainians who suggested boycotting the popular drink until it recognizes the annexation of Crimea as illegal.

So on Tuesday, Coca-Cola just gave up altogether. “Dear friends! Thank you for your attention. It has been decided to delete the item which caused the upset,” Coca-Cola’s Ukrainian subsidiary posted on Facebook.

By Wednesday, the international soft drink company was passing off the blame to the ad agency that made the map, claiming it was changed without permission from Coca-Cola headquarters.

“We, as a company, don’t support any political movements. The company has removed the post and apologizes for the situation that occurred,” Coca-Cola said in a statement released Wednesday.

That explanation came a day after the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington had contacted the U.S. State Department to see if they would consider intervening. “The Embassy emphasized that Coca-Cola’s actions violate the official U.S. position condemning Russia’s illegal occupation of Crimea, which is and has always been an integral part of Ukraine,” the embassy posted on Facebook.

Photo Credit: Twitter

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