Business for Putin: how to make a patriotic iPhone




Nizhny Novgorod “Es El Group” sells gold and titanium iPhone from Italy with a portrait of Vladimir Putin. Business yet unprofitable, and connection to Italy, probably not more than a marketing ploy.


In 2010, 35-year-old Italian Elijah Giacometti came at the invitation of a friend in Moscow on “Millionaire Fair”, says Forbes . Luxury for Giacometti’s familiar – in Italy since 1999, heads the family jewelery company Perla Penna. At the fair, he had the idea: to do for the Russian gold iPhone. Especially since he already had his own iPhone with gold case, which struck visitors. A year later was ready the first line of smartphones – seven models, which began to be sold under the brand Caviar («caviar” translated from English).

So on the site online boutique Caviar, selling the iPhone in the case of precious metals, tells the story of the creation of such phones. In July 2014 for Caviar came finest hour. About Gold “putinofon» – iPhone 5s with a portrait of Putin – wrote the world mass media, and the first batch of 42 copies worth 147,000 rubles each sold out in a few days.

Bet on Asia

“Businessmen, senior managers, administrative resources, actors, politicians. About 80% – men, 20% – women. Average age – 40-55 years “- describes the profile of buyers phones Caviar co-owner of Smart Luxury Group (LLC” Es El Group “) Sergey whales. His company is the exclusive distributor in Russia Caviar.

Own boutique company in Russia is in the village of Zhukovka on Rublevsky highway in the Moscow region, as well as in Pyatigorsk and Khabarovsk. Through the distribution network Caviar phones are also sold in Sochi and Anapa. Whale says that a few weeks ago brand boutique was opened in Azerbaijan, where special interest are “patriotic” model – “Azerbaijan” and “Baku”. While in Yerevan, no shop, but wealthy Armenians can buy over the Internet model “Armenia”. Recently Smart Luxury Group have a partner in China, said the Whale and concludes: “With the market [sales], we decided – more still Asia than Europe.”


In Russia, after the success of iPhone 5s gold model with the image of Putin on the rear panel, Smart Luxury Group released a titanium version with Putin. According to Kitov, titanium devices are not yet sold. Caviar on the site are sold for 129 thousand rubles for instance.

The third version of the model (iPhone 6 gold worth 199,000 rubles) was supposed to leave in the amount of 299 copies, but the company has received a signal from the Kremlin . President’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov said in November 2014 that Putin does not approve the commercialization of his image. “We have embraced the word Peskov as a guide to action and stopped the release,” – recognizes the whales. According to him, directly from the Kremlin to them and no one spoke about the signal they have learned from the press.

Despite the words of whales on the site Caviar can buy gold and titanium iPhone 6 with the image of Putin for 199 000 and 147 000, respectively, as well as titanium Plus for iPhone 6 157 000. Whale prefers to talk about another novelty – model Atlante Russia with a double-headed eagle on the rear panel. This phone, as stated on the website affect the innermost soul music buyer and awaken her fabulous figure, powerful, invincible Russia. According to Kitov, sales Atlante Russia are worse than “putinofona” because the phone with a portrait of the president was a great media attention.


Which produces special model iPhone? According to Kitov, jewelry work done in Italy, and the final assembly takes place in Russia. The buyer receives a small suitcase, which is itself iPhone, jewelry pieces and accessories. “If you have a” Mercedes “, then you can come to the tuning shop, and you can put a new engine is forced to make a new salon. We take the iPhone and upon request make it not just a smartphone, and Laksheri-smartphone “- says Whales on the issue of claims from Apple. In American corporations declined to comment.

In early December, Apple raised by 25% the cost of the iPhone in Russia, but the most popular models Caviar no rose. “At the cost of our products iPhone takes 30%, sometimes 40%. We have a reserve – can raise prices, we can not raise “- explains the whales. His company is looking for other smartphone manufacturers. “We proposed and to establish a joint company Yota phone jewelry, but they refused, without explaining the reasons,” – says the businessman.
Jeweller ghost

“Gold iPhone Caviar from Elijah Giacometti! From Italy, the birthplace of art! Made by hand in the jewelry workshop with 160 years of history! Available favorites! “. Banner ad on the site Caviar recalls the upcoming New Year’s holidays.


Website of the Perla Penna, which is headed by Giacometti, does not work (only available on phones section Caviar), and the domain was established in August 2011. According to the service, IP-address of your website Estonian. If the call listed on the site Perla Penna phone number, the operator is responsible, that is the number of online boutique Caviar. In the Google search engine could not find mention of Perla Penna Giacometti or non-Caviar.

In the register of legal entities in Italy there is only one company Perla Penna – it deals with cosmetic services.

“Elijah Giacometti non-public person, but a very talented jeweler, heir to the family workshop in Florence. If you have been there, you must have seen – there are many small shops and brands that we do not know Russian, and on the Internet, they probably do not know. Italian jewelry craftsmanship, in principle, it is behind the scenes “- explains the whales. According to him, Perla Penna – a small family business, known among a narrow circle of regular customers and friends of the family.

On direct request to provide evidence for the existence of Giacometti and Perla Penna Whales says that “together by phone – the best proof.”


The only real connection with Caviar is only at “Es El Group”. This company is registered in Nizhny Novgorod, whales, it belongs to 53.75%. He has two partners – Yuri Karpov (33.75%) and Alexei Grishin (12.8%). Sales of phones Caviar Whale does not disclose, “But quite a lot, given the specificity of this market and especially online sales.”

According to SPARC, in 2013 revenues, “Es El Group” amounted to 663 thousand rubles at a loss of 1.37 billion rubles. Whales and Karpov there is another business – the company “Innoveyshn Media Group”, which, in particular, has been selling T-shirts (site Its revenues in 2013 amounted to 3.9 billion rubles, but the company is also losing money – a loss at the end of 2013 amounted to 957 thousand rubles.

Kitov said that they are now more in no way connected with Perla Penna: «We recently bought the Italians their share in this business now Caviar is completely under the control of the Russian shareholders.” According to him, the Russian shareholders starts Christmas sales rush, “I Laksheri-goods, two peaks – New Year’s and then in February-March.”

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