Bishkek Finds: Odnoklassniki Vodka?

For those of you unfamiliar with CIS states, Odnoklassniki is the equivalent of Facebook for post-soviet netizens.Odnoklassniki

In Russian, it literally means “[people] of one class” or “classmates”.

Bishkek has a (repelling orange) Odnoklassniki cafeteria, and now… Odnoklassniki vodka? I’m now trying to picture “Facebook Vodka” with a cute rounded medium blue label.

Like the cafeteria, this is probably unlicensed use of the brand name.  Unless it’s a (family-friendly?) promotional item. Snowflakes, wool hats, smiling friends with dazzling white teeth, photos and pop music and… gut-rot-cheap vodka? Googling produced no results, so I’m guessing it’s the former (though there was once an “Odnoklassniki Party” with 1 Euro vodka shots…)

For curious souls willing to buy and try, the bottle was 100 som – roughly $1.60 at the little grocery store just north of the yellow nt office supply store on Prospect Manas.  Like most little grocery stores I’ve wandered into in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, literally 1/3 of total shelf space is devoted to alcohol, and most of that to cheap, cheap vodka.  Apparently more important than food. 
I also just noticed that the bottle to the left is called “Beshbarmak” (five fingers), a popular national dish made with mutton, potatoes, carrots, noodles and plenty of oil. To understand how strange this is, think of “Cheeseburger” or “Penne Alfredo” brand vodka. Perhaps it’s infused with aroma of beshbarmak? (I did have a crazy Canadian college acquaintance who once made bacon-infused vodka, which is kind of similar…) Perhaps it’s meant to be toasted over Beshbarmak? Or perhaps there are simply so many brands of vodka in the post-soviet states that all the logical names have already been taken.


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