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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Cigarette Maker Apologized, Hermitage Says

ST. PETERSBURG -- The city's world-famous Hermitage museum demanded apologies from a tobacco company that started making cigarettes of the same name, museum officials said Tuesday.

Rothmans-Nevo, a joint venture set up by Rothmans and a Russian factory, began selling its new Hermitage cigarettes last month.

Hermitage director Mikhail Piotrovsky accused the company of having infringed on the museum's rights.

"They used our name without asking us for permission," he said Tuesday. "People can get an association between cigarettes and our museum.''

Piotrovsky added, however, that he already had received apologies from the company and was not planning any legal action.

"They have recognized their mistake," he said.

Rothmans-Nevo has insisted the cigarette name was not related to the museum and has given no further comments.

Lawyers say the Hermitage was likely to lose any possible court case, as the word hermitage could not be considered its exclusive property.

"From the legal viewpoint, the museum's claims are ill-grounded," said Alexander Kalinov, an independent lawyer.