Medvedev's favourite alcohol arrives from Italy via Estonian logistics company

01.04.2024 08:15
Heidi Saar

An Italian winery linked to one of Russia's most influential politicians, Dmitry Medvedev, has escaped sanctions by selling wine to a Russian firm linked to Medvedev during the war. According to Delfi shipments have been organised by the Estonian businessman's logistics company.

During Russia's aggression in Ukraine, former Prime Minister and President, now Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council, Medvedev, has been one of the most aggressive politicians of the aggressor state. His fierce rhetoric often makes even Vladimir Putin seem mild in comparison.

According to investigative journalism by The Insider, it seems that Medvedev's favorite wines have somehow bypassed European sanctions, allowing them to reach Russia without hindrance. In fact, each wine shipment has been followed by an above-average post on social media, which has been linked to Medvedev's drunkenness.

The Tuscany vineyard, Fattoria della Aiola, was first linked to Medvedev's interests in 2017 by Alexei Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation. Although the vineyard was initially registered under a Cypriot company, owned by Ilja Elisejev, a close friend of Medvedev since childhood, subsequent changes in ownership haven't severed ties with Elisejev.

 Elisejev, not just a childhood friend but also a former executive at Gazprom and Rostec, has strangely managed to continue business in the EU despite being under sanctions from several countries. This has allowed Medvedev's vineyard to continue selling its bottles to Russia, even amidst the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

 Facilitating the transport of these wines are logistics companies like Wellman Logistics from Latvia, owned by Estonian entrepreneur Ivo Tahk. Wellman Logistics operates a large warehouse in Latvia, from where goods are transported to Russia.

 Initial deliveries were modest, but subsequent shipments, documented in customs declarations, have increased significantly. Notably, Medvedev's social media activity tends to become more erratic after these deliveries.

 For instance, shortly after a shipment in 2023, Medvedev posted on social media about the possibility of a nuclear apocalypse, further highlighting his controversial behavior.

Wellman Logistics, when questioned, confirmed their involvement but asserted that their operations complied with legal requirements and expressed condemnation for the war in Ukraine.

Despite the legality of Medvedev's vineyard and the logistics company's operations, the volume of alcohol transported to Russia during wartime is substantial, reaching over a thousand shipments worth over a hundred million euros, mostly consisting of alcohol.

While the logistics company is owned by Ivo Tahk, he emphasizes that he doesn't directly manage the operations and is surprised by the allegations of Medvedev's wine passing through Latvia. "It is, of course, astonishing that you claim that somehow Medvedev's wine has moved through Latvia. It's a shock to me as well," Tahk said.

As Tahk clarifies, the logistics company deals only with shipping and communicates solely with freight forwarders. The complexity of the situation underscores the intricate web of business and politics surrounding Medvedev's wine and its journey to Russia.

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