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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

BAT Launches Moscow-Made Yava Zolotaya

British American Tobacco has added one more name to its lineup of cigarette products in Russia, launching what it calls an "international-quality Russian cigarette," Yava Gold.

The new brand "sets a new golden standard to all cigarettes in Russia and will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with very best [international] brands," Ben Stevens, the managing director of BAT Russia, said at a launch event Thursday.

While many Western tobacco companies are betting that Russian smokers will take to famous international brands that have been produced domestically, British American Tobacco is putting its money on a new interpretation of an established Russian brand.

Yava Gold -- in Russian, Yava Zolotaya -- is produced at the Yava factory in Moscow, in which British American Tobacco owns a controlling stake. BAT last year launched a repackaged version of the factory's classic Yava cigarette, a brand that has existed since the 19th century.

The company is positioning the golden-packaged Yava Gold as a more upmarket cigarette containing what its producers call an "American blend" of tobaccos. BAT Brand marketing director Adrian Marshall said the new product will attempt to recapture the large number of smokers who in recent years have turned from traditional Russian brands to imported ones.

BAT promises a campaign of free handouts, during which some 500,000 smokers in Moscow will have a chance to sample the new brand.

Yava Gold went on sale in Moscow kiosks during the past week at an average of 3,500 rubles a pack (60 cents), compared to 5,000 to 7,000 rubles for "top-end" cigarettes such as RJR's Camel and Philip Morris' Marlboro.

BAT Russia began production of the new cigarette in the second half of August at the Yava factory in Moscow, in which it acquired a controlling interest in 199