Coke’s US manufacturers withdrew the soda from sale in Russia in February last year (2022) as part of sanctions imposed over the invasion of Ukraine.
On 31st August police released video footage of heavily armed officers raiding one of the many illegal factories set up to plug the gap.
The factory – at Dyatlovka village, near Moscow – was caught with more than 33,000 bottles of the bogus cola waiting to be delivered.
Police footage shows the bottles trundling through the production line plastered with forged labels.
Thousands more empty bottles can be seen waiting to be filled as police hold some of the workers at gunpoint.
Police say they rounded up 22 illegal immigrants working at the crooked plant who now face deportation.
They told how they found huge vats filled with a cola concentrate, as well as industrial-scale bottling equipment and thousands of branded labels and lids.
A statement from the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia obtained by Newsflash on 31 August confirmed: “During the operational-search activities, there were 22 migrants in the premises, who were manufacturing counterfeit products on an industrial scale.
“They added chemicals to the water, then carbonated the mixture and poured it into plastic containers labelled with the world-famous trade brand.
“Protocols were drawn to the employees up on administrative offences provided for in Articles 18.8 and 18.10 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation.
“Each of them was fined RUB 5,000 (GBP 40), which will be followed by deportation from the country.”
Fake soda is often sold in recycled original bottles, passing off the drink as real, but some sellers openly write that they supply a “double” or “quality replica”.
Despite banning exports to Russia, Coca-Cola still tops the list as the top-selling drink in Russia,
Parallel imports from countries like Kazakhstan mean it is still widely available legally in Russia.