Begun as Smuggling Operation Through GOP and KGB, Later Became Russian Mob Partnership
– Romney Tobacco Deal With Russian Mob and GOP (Veterans Today, Oct 23, 2012):
Stories hitting the press today about Bain Capital and the Russian cigarette market tell only a small part of the story. Stories say that Romney sent representatives to Russia to aid them in selling cigarettes but this is quite misleading. The real deal was between the GOP and Russian Mafia with Bain only acting as “consultant.”The GOP organized cigarette smuggling into Russia through Poland in late 1990 and early 1991, paying of KGB operatives in Russia. Cigarette sales in Russia were a method then of supplying income for disabled veterans, as cigarette kiosks were a “perk” of military service and a method of survival for many.
Initially, cigarettes came from vending companies in the US, were shipped in 20 foot containers into Gdansk, Poland, and trucked into Russia where the profits were split with the KGB.
The first few shipments were all Marlboro and traded for vodka which was offloaded in Chicago. Where it went from there, who knows.