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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 December 2007, 19:18 GMT
Anger at 'satanic' Coca-Cola ad
Russian Coca-Cola advert
The adverts are meant to promote Russian culture, the firm says
Prosecutors in Russia say they are studying a complaint accusing Coca-Cola of insulting Orthodox Christian beliefs in an advertising campaign.

They say the complaint was lodged by 440 residents of the Russian city of Nizhny Novgorod earlier this month.

It accuses Coca-Cola of blasphemy through using adverts with images of Orthodox churches and crosses, some of which "were even put upside down".

Coca-Cola officials say the ads are aimed at promoting Russia's culture.

'Satanic' ads

The complaint against Coca-Cola was lodged on 11 December, said Irina Monakhova, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office in Nizhny Novgorod, about 400km (250 miles) south-east of Moscow.

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She said prosecutors were now investigating to determine whether there was any legal case to answer.

The protesters - mostly Russian Orthodox Christian believers - allege that Coca-Cola adverts in Nizhny Novgorod are insulting to their beliefs.

"Coca-Cola uses all these Orthodox symbols in a blasphemous way by placing images of Coca-Cola bottles inside the pictures," the complaint said, according to Russia's Ria Novosti news agency.

"Some images are deliberately turned upside down, including the crosses," it said.

An inverted cross is considered to be one of the symbols of satanism.

Coca-Cola officials have defended the company's marketing approach, saying it was promoting Russia's cultural heritage.

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