Vodka brand Russian Standard has entered the UK market in a deal with First Drinks Brands, the distribution company owned by Scotch whisky producer William Grant.
The vodka is the creation of Russian entrepreneur Roustam Tariko, whose Roust Inc became the distributor of the William Grant portfolio in Russia last year.
Tariko indicated last year that he was planning an assault on the UK vodka market and wanted the number-one position. To do this it would have to shove Diageo's Smirnoff from its position as the best-selling vodka brand in the UK.
Smirnoff was the seventh- biggest alcoholic drinks brand in take-home in 2006, with sales of £193.4m according to Nielsen.
But Tariko - who owns Russia's biggest credit card company - may have the resources to take Diageo on. He was rated the 150th richest person in the world by Forbes 500 magazine this year, with an estimated fortune of $5.4bn.
"We have ambitious growth plans over the next five years," said Chris Mason, managing director of First Drinks Brands.
First Drinks will be launching a range of vodkas at three recommended retail prices: Original at £11.99, Platinum at £14.49 and Imperia at £29.99. The launch will target "aspirational" people aged 18 to 34, with support including pre-Christmas TV ads.
First Drinks was previously in the Russian vodka market with Stolichnaya - which it lost to Pernod Ricard UK in 2005.