is a brand of a Russian cigarette. As part of the First Five-Year Plan, Stalin ordered the building of a series of canals to connect the Baltic and White Seas to enable the Russian Navy to reach the White Sea and not be trapped if outlets from the Baltic Sea were closed by hostile forces. The overall project was known as the Belomorkanal.
Shortly after the canal was completed, a new Russian cigarette, Belomorkanal, was introduced and became one of the most popular brands in Russia. Belomorcanals
are a traditional Russian papirossi cigarette constructed with about 3 to 4 cm of tobacco and a long paper cylinder holder. Papirossi cigarettes have no filter and have high tar content. Before World War II, papirossi cigarettes were practically all that was available to Russian smokers. Since the mid-1970s, traditional Western-type cigarettes have been consumed at a higher rate than papirossi cigarettes, and this trend is increasing in the 1990s. During the difficult economic times of the 1990s, however, Belomorkanal and other papirossi cigarettes were affordable for most Russians.
In July 1992, the American tobacco company R. J. Reynolds bought controlling interest in the Uritsky Tobacco Factory in St. Petersburg and formed the RJR-Petro Tobacco Factory. Other Western tobacco companies have also recently invested heavily in St. Petersburg tobacco factories-Rothmans, $80 million, and Philip Morris, $100 million. The RJR venture has special importance, however, because the Uritsky Tobacco Factory produced the Belomorkanal cigarette brand. The cigarette
that evokes images of the hundreds of thousands of Russians who carried out Stalin's edicts now proudly has the insignia RJR stamped on the back of each package. This legacy of Stalin is brought into the 21st century by the American tobacco company RJR.