Rapper Timati opens coffee chain owned by Starbucks in russia

Rapper Timati opens coffee chain owned by Starbucks in russia

A pro-Putin rapper has opened a chain of coffee shops that were once owned by Starbucks under a new name, Stars Coffee, the latest high-profile rebrand of a major western chain after an unprecedented corporate exodus from Russia.

On Thursday, the rapper Timati and restaurateur Anton Pinskiy, who acquired the rights to the chain in Russia, attended the opening of the first of 130 cafes previously owned by Starbucks. During the opening in central Moscow, the pair also revealed the chain's new logo, which replaces Starbucks s iconic siren with a woman wearing the traditional Russian kokoshnik headdress, but is otherwise fairly similar.

Seattle-based Starbucks announced in May it is leaving the Russian market after nearly 15 years as it joined hundreds of other major western brands that have left the country after Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

Dozens of western companies have agreed to sell their assets to Kremlin-friendly Russian businesspeople at steep discounts. The Russian authorities have been actively encouraging the takeovers, intended to comfort ordinary Russians that they can live western lifestyles despite the country's growing isolation.

Timati, whose real name is Timur Yunusov, has been a vocal supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin and a self-described friend of Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov.

In 2015, the rapper released a song called My Best Friend is Vladimir Putin that describes the president as a superhero. Timati also released a pro-government song called Moscow in which he boasted that the Russian capital doesn't hold gay parades. It became the most disliked song on Russian YouTube.

The re-opening of Starbucks marks the second-high profile rebranding of a western food chain after former McDonald's restaurants restarted their operations under a new name, Vkusno tochka Tasty, and that s it Vkusno tochka has struggled to preserve its old menu, forcing the firm to temporarily stop serving its signature fries and potato wedges.

It was not immediately clear what will be on the menu of the new coffee chain.