A pro-Kremlin rapper and a Russian restaurateur announced Wednesday that were taking over all the former Domino’s pizza outlets in the country, changing the “I” in Domino for the equivalent Cyrillic letter “и.” Apart from the lettering, the logo appeared little changed.
Anton Pinskiy and rapper Timati last year bought 130 coffee shops once owned by Starbucks in Russia, changing the name to Stars Coffee.
Both U.S. corporations pulled out of the country in light of its ongoinginvasion of Ukraine, which has prompted a dizzying array of economic sanctions against Moscow by the U.S. and its allies.
Pinskiy and Timati, who’ve invested millions of dollars into the business, according to Forbes Russia, said they would retain the franchise’s 120 restaurants and more than 2,000 employees, Reuters reported.
Their announcement came nine days after the company that operated the Domino’s brand in Russia, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia, DP Eurasia, said it was filing for bankruptcy, having tried and failed to sell the franchises.
Russia passed a decree this April that allowed the national government to seize the assets of companies from “unfriendly” countries, which has led to numerous rebrandings. Lego blocks, for instance, have become “World of Cubes” in Russia, while McDonald’s restaurants morphed into “Tasty and that’s it” eateries and Krispy Kreme donuts became “Krunchy Dream.”
Timati, who’s real name is Timur Yunusov, has long supported the Kremlin with his music. In 2015 he rapped on a song that includes the lyric, “My best friend is Putin,” describing the Russian leader as a “die hard superhero.”
Timati and Pinskiy revealed the Stars Coffee rebrand in August last year. Pinskiy said at the time that he’d paid around $6 million for the assets, according to Reuters.