2007/11/16

November 16 in Russian history

November 5 Old Style.

1704

Peter I wrote in his diary: "Today we have layed the foundation of the Admiralty House and celebrated at an osteria. The length is 200 sazhen, the width is 100 sazhen." (One sazhen is 7 English feet, or 2.13 meters) The Admiralty House in St.Petersburg, now known as simply the Admiralty, was then a shipyard. Peter I dreamed of making Russia a naval power and a shipyard was one of the first steps towards this goal.

St.Petersburg was founded on May 27 (16 Old Style) 1703 and in the very first days Peter I and his aide Menshikov found a place for the shipyard. Even before it was founded, Peter I named it the Admiralty shipyard and this part of the city, located between rivers Neva and Moyka, was named the Admiralty island. The first plan was made by Peter himself and it is now stored at the Central Navy Archive. The Admiralty House consisted of a number of adjacent buildings, including forges, slipways, docks and various workshops, warehouses and administrative buildings. The slips were long enough to build ships up to 70 feet long.

In 1719, the first small tower was built. In 1727, Ivan Kuzmich Korobov was appointed the chief architect of the Admiralty. He restored the old buildings and built some new ones. Among other things, he built a new Admiralty tower. He prepared two projects of this tower and the empress Anna chose the one with a tall spire. The tower was ready by 1732-34 and in 1738 the last painting works were over. The building looked about the same way as it looks now. The spire had a golden weather vane in the form of a three-masted ship, which was modelled after the first frigate built by Peter I. The name of the author of this idea is not known, but the ship became one of the symbols of St.Petersburg.

1972

Pepsi announced that they are about to begin producing and selling Pepsi Cola in USSR in exchange for the exclusive rights for the distribution of "Stolichnaya" vodka in the USA.

This was not the first time when Pepsi came to the USSR. In 1959, there was a huge national exhibition of the USA in Moscow. Donald Kendall, the president of Pepsi, was a good friend of Nixon, who was one of the organizers of the exhibition and asked him to do everything possible to make sure Nikita Khrushchev visits the stand with the Pepsi production. So, Kendall got a chance to demonstrate Pepsi to Khrushchev. Khrushchev was presented with two samples of Pepsi Cola, one was made in the USA and the other was made in Moscow especially for the exhibition. Of course, Khrushchev said that the second one was much better :).

Kendall did his best to get Pepsi to the new market. Tommy Thompson, the ambassador of the USA in the USSR, gave him two interesting ideas. First, said he, Russians don't like usual contracts, they prefer bartering. And second, they are just wild because of the "Smirnoff" vodka, which is sold in the USA. So, it was decided that Pepsi and the USSR will exchange vodka and Pepsi Cola, liter for liter. 10 factories were built in various Soviet cities to produce Pepsi Cola.

Well, where's Pepsi, there's Coca, of course. So, Coca's Austin was a friend of Jimmy Carter. Carter appointed him the chief of the American-Soviet trade council, replacing Kendall. To avoid the direct conflict with Pepsi, Coca was only allowed to produce Fanta in the USSR.

Soviet parents tried to save their wallets from the children, who asked for Pepsi Cola and Fanta. There wer scary rumours that a shaving razor, when put into Pepsi Cola, dissolves in one night. A similar story was told about a woman who by chance dropped a piece of meat into Pepsi and the meat turned into a jelly.

2 comments:

Kyle & Svet Keeton said...

Now I understand why Pepsi has a stronger hold in Russia than Coke does. I have wondered this since coming here. Not to say that coke has not closed the gap between the colas.

Funny thing, In Ukraine we could not find Pepsi. Just Coke. Moldova we could only find Coke. What happened to Pepsi in the surrounding Soviet countries?? Did they have it or was Pepsi only a Russian thing?

Great article.

Kyle

Dmitri Minaev said...

Of course, Pepsi was not not specifically "Russian". The factories were built in Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev (Ukraine), Novorossiysk, Tashkent (Uzbekistan), Tallin (Estonia), Alma-Ata (now Almaty, Kazakhstan) and Sukhumi (Georgia).

Probably, the success of Pepsi in the USSR played against them after the break up of the Soviet Union. Pepsi was already a familiar product, and Coca was more "American", more "foreign". So, the consumers preferred Coca :).