Such was the case recently in Russia, where politicians denied a connection with bottled water, according to an article in the Moscow News. Apparently bottled water bearing the logo of the United Russia brand name — the Russian Federation’s ruling political party — was being sold online. No big deal, right?
Well, it wasn’t until a correspondent from one of Russia’s newspapers confirmed that the bottled water was being made near Moscow, under a signed agreement by the ruling party. United Russia has been met with much criticism regarding its new Clean Water program. This Clean Water program’s intentions sound admirable — to provide clean water to public institutions (i.e. schools and hospitals) in a country that is notorious for having very poor quality tap water.
Critics of the Clean Water program, however, say that many companies will benefit from the public’s money through the program. An article in the Moscow Times notes that inventor Viktor Petrik and United Russia head Boris Gryzlov hold a patent for cleaning radioactive waste. More suspicion regarding the program arose when water filters made by Petrik’s company “Golden Formula” were chosen for one of the program’s pilot projects.
Despite this criticism, Gryslov maintains that the patent he and Petrik share is not related to the program, and that the water filters were chosen by experts in the field.
Likewise, officials said there was no agreement between the water bottler and the party. Petrik’s “Golden Formula” website also mentioned the United Russia party, but in recent weeks any mention of the United Russia party has been taken down from both the bottled water site as well as the Golden Formula website.
Vodovoz says that the party name must have been on the website by accident and it was just a coincidence, the company’s employee told the newspaper. “The employees’ task is to sell the product, maybe, that is why they told you about the agreement with the party,” he said. The company has not made any official comment.
Earlier the Golden Formula filters to be used in the Clear Water programme also mentioned United Russia on their website. However, after a media storm, all mention of the ruling party disappeared within hours.
Clean Water in Russia? Time will tell.