Apparently, the appropriate thing to do after you annex a territory from another country is raid their centuries-old liquor cabinets.
In “not very hard to believe” news, Russian President Vladimir Putin—he of shirtless horseback riding fame—did something shocking and internationally insensitive. Along with Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (no stranger to controversy himself), Putin helped himself to a 240 year-old bottle of Spanish wine belonging to a Crimean winery.
The wine in question (worth about $90,000 today) had been brought to Crimea by Count Mikhail Vorontsov, governor-general of the territory in the early 19th century who not only brought some of his favorite wines to Crimea, but actually established a winery there. When Russia annexed Crimea in March of 2014, the winery came along with the rest of the spoils—though it was Berlusconi, not Putin, who first thought to actually drink it, reportedly asking for a taste during a tour of the winery. With a pro-Russian wine director now at the helm of the winery, and Putin also on the tour, the answer was of course, yes, probably something like: “Somebody get me a corkscrew. Like, nowsies.”
Putin and Berlusconi apparently then helped themselves to the 1775 bottle of Jeres de la Frontera without batting an eye. Not that Ukraine is taking the incident as casually. Prosecutors are making a criminal case out of what they refer to as “large scale misuse of property.” Unlikely that either Putin or Berlusconi will see jail time for it, but some international wine-shunning might be in order.