The soda company Coca-Cola finds itself at the center of the latest scandal involving maps of the Russian Federation and Crimea.
On December 30, the company posted on Vkontakte (Russia's most popular social network) a map of the Russian Federation, introducing a New Year's marketing campaign. On January 5, following complaints that the map did not include Kaliningrad, the Kuril islands, or Crimea (which Russia formally absorbed on March 18, 2014), Coca-Cola published an apology, posting a new map of Russia that included these territories. The message read, “Dear community members, we sincerely apologize for this situation! The map has been corrected! We hope you will understand.”
After social media users and journalists began drawing attention to the map, Coca-Cola deleted the entire post from its Vkontakte page, removing the map and all comments. (The content is still available on Google's cache.)
Oleh Tyahnybok, the leader of the far-right Ukrainian political party Svoboda, has called on officials in Kiev to ban Coca-Cola for publishing a map that recognized Russian sovereignty over Crimea. On Facebook, Tyahnybok wrote, “We need to ban immediately in Ukraine this American company that's de-facto recognized Crimea to be Moscow's. I'm curious what the reaction is of the US embassy in Ukraine?”