Mystery Moscow Posters Mock Ukraine's Pro-US Leader

MOSCOW, Russia -- Mysterious posters advertising a traditional Ukrainian delicacy have appeared on the walls of the Moscow undergound in an apparent smear campaign against Ukraine's pro-Western leader.

Ukrainian salo

Styled after Andy Warhol's iconic Campbell's Soup canvasses, the posters depict six cans displaying a U.S. flag and the words "American Salo" written on them.

Salo is a traditional Ukrainian dish of pure pig fat, highly prized across the former Soviet Union.

Each poster shows six cans offering different varieties of the product: " Classic", "Chocolate", "Spicy" and "To go with the borsch" (a traditional Ukrainian beet soup).

The posters do not give any other information except a Web site address of the movement that has designed them.

The movement, "Creative Warriors" said on its Web site that the aim of the campaign is to "foment mistrust against (Ukrainian President Viktor) Yushchenko."

"Salo is an unofficial symbol of Ukraine all over the world," the movement said. "Just as the American Salo is impossible, so the American Ukraine is impossible too."

Up to nine million people use the Moscow underground on a busy weekday.

Yushchenko was swept to power in the 2004 Orange revolution on pledges to align his country with the West, to the chagrin of the Kremlin.

Mikhail Kovalyov, coordinator of the movement, insisted, however, it was mostly a commercial project aimed at advertising the canned salo that would soon hit stores in Ukraine.

Kovalyov told AFP his movement had been asked to develop a "creative concept" by a "certain third party" and it did it for free.

But Natalia Orekhova, a spokeswoman for Olymp, an agency which has a contract to place advertising on the Moscow metro, said the posters didn't advertise any specific product.

A spokesman for the Moscow underground declined to comment on the posters, saying it was up to authorities to establish whether they were ethical.

Veteran Russian ambassador to Kiev Viktor Chernomyrdin pledged on Monday that Moscow wouldn't meddle in Ukraine's domestic affairs and take sides during the presidential vote due in late 2009 or early 2010.

Source: AFP