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Borjomi Seeking Return to Russian Market

Producer of bottled mineral water IDS Borjomi International has asked Russia's chief sanitary doctor Gennady Onishchenko to allow sales of the Georgian company's famous Borjomi mineral water in Russia.

Borjomi's return to the Russian market had been discussed since last December, when Russia's consumer rights watchdog Rospotrebnadzor invited the company to perform "several formal requests" and provide additional information to facilitate the brand's registration in Russian, the company said in a statement Thursday.

Finally, Rospotrebnadzor officially accepted the request to register the Borjomi brand, and now the company expects Russian officials to inspect its production facilities to remove the final hurdles preventing it from returning to Russian shelves.

"IDS Borjomi International is ready to facilitate the inspection of the company's production by Russian experts," company head Vladimir Ashurov said in the statement.

IDS Borjomi International is one of three leading producers of bottled mineral water in the former Soviet Union.

Rospotrebnadzor in 2006 banned sales of Borjomi mineral water in Russia, which then constituted about half of its overall sales, citing noncompliance with Russian sanitary and quality standards. But the ban was also seen as a sign of deteriorating relations between Moscow and Tbilisi following Georgia's Rose Revolution in 2003.

In the years since, IDS Borjomi International has continued exporting Borjomi water abroad and has establishing itself as a leading producer of bottled water in the former Soviet Union. The company also produces water brands Svyatoi Istochnik, Edelveis and Likani, among others.

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