Putin Friend Timati Buys Starbucks Stores in Russia
Closed Starbucks branch in St. Petersburg.
© Adobe Stock
Like many other companies, Starbucks has withdrawn from Russia after the attack on Ukraine, however, the coffee house chain took its time with this decision. It has been clear since the end of May that Starbucks will bid Russia farewell. The existing 130 branches will now be taken over by the rapper Timati. According to Instagram, he has taken over all of Starbucks' assets in Russia together with the gastro-entrepreneur Anton Pinskiy. It is not yet clear whether all the shops will continue to operate. Around 2,000 employees worked there at last count.
A close friend of Mr. Putin
Timati, whose real name is Timur Ildarovich Yunusov, is a celebrity, at least in his home country: the Russian rapper is considered a close friend of Vladimir Putin. Outside of Russia, he is mainly known for two facts: on the one hand, he once collaborated with Swiss DJ Antoine on “Welcome to St. Tropez”. On the other hand, he has set negative records with his song “Moscow”, a song in praise of Putin, released in 2019, which is said to have received almost 1.5 million dislikes in a few days, according to reports by independent Russian media. Today, there is no way to punish something in this way – but back then, Timati's deification of Putin was despised. The rapper, who likes to show himself in private jets, is said to have repeatedly called Putin a superhero. Whether Putin himself is involved in the Starbucks takeover is currently unknown.
Rebranding of Starbucks
Starbucks will not continue under this name in Russia, there will almost certainly be a rebranding. Timati has also announced his intention to build a Russian brand independent of Western supplies. He says they will show that they do not need the West.
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