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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Why I'm Boycotting Russian Vodka

Posted by on Wed, Jul 24, 2013 at 4:52 PM

Buzzfeed has a photo essay—"36 Photos from Russia That Everyone Needs to See"—that will bring anyone who hasn't been paying attention to the situation in Russia up to speed. And Harvey Fierstein's opinion piece in Monday's NYT offers a great summary of Putin's escalating anti-gay pogrom:

Just six months before Russia hosts the 2014 Winter Games, Mr. Putin signed a law allowing police officers to arrest tourists and foreign nationals they suspect of being homosexual, lesbian or “pro-gay” and detain them for up to 14 days.... Earlier in June, Mr. Putin signed yet another antigay bill, classifying “homosexual propaganda” as pornography. The law is broad and vague, so that any teacher who tells students that homosexuality is not evil, any parents who tell their child that homosexuality is normal, or anyone who makes pro-gay statements deemed accessible to someone underage is now subject to arrest and fines. Even a judge, lawyer or lawmaker cannot publicly argue for tolerance without the threat of punishment.

These anti-gay laws come after years of escalating attacks on gay pride events and LGBT people in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Moscow's city government has banned pride parades for 100 years; in St. Petersburg a small group of LGBT-rights demonstrators was attacked by a violent mob earlier this summer. These attacks are not new and they're getting worse.

Gay and lesbian Russians living in the United States are calling for a boycott of the 2014 Winter Games, which are taking place in the Russian city of Sochi:

The group is calling for a boycott of the games, saying the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community is not safe in Russia—and they hope even those who are not gay will support the ban. “LGBT people in Russia are scared, they live in fear, and we want people to be aware of the issue. If they feel strongly about human rights they should boycott the Olympics in Sochi,” said Nina Long, co-president of RUSA LGBT, a Russian-speaking LGBT organization based in New York. “We really want the LGBT community to know it’s unsafe to travel there."

It is unsafe for gay people to travel in Russia: this week four gay Dutch tourists were arrested for spreading "gay propaganda" in Russia.

Most of us weren't planning to go to the Olympic games in Russia this winter, of course, so we wouldn't be able to participate in a boycott if one got off the ground. And there are good arguments to be made against boycotting the Olympics in Sochi. Outsports opposes a boycott. And Patrick Burke, co-founder of the You Can Play Project, an organization for gay athletes and their straight allies, makes a solid argument against a boycott:

In 1968, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar refused to play in the Olympics as a protest against the treatment of blacks in America. The same year, Tommie Smith and John Carlos stood on a medal stand, gloved fists in the air, as a protest against the treatment of blacks in America. History remembers the athletes who showed up.... To send the strongest possible message of support to the LGBT community, we must send our athletes—those who are LGBT, those who are LGBT-supportive, those with LGBT family members or friends. Let them show that champions stand strong with their teammates and training partners. Send our openly LGBT and “publicly pro-gay” athletes and let them compete. Let them win. Show the world that there are elite LGBT athletes who are not afraid to be themselves, on and off the playing field. That the majority of the world’s finest athletes support their LGBT teammates, coaches, and opponents by treating them as equals in competition.

If there isn't a boycott—if gay and pro-gay athletes compete at the Olympics in Sochi this winter—there must be a protest during the Sochi Olympics that is as powerful and indelible as Tommie Smith and John Carlos's protest during the Mexico City Olympics. It should happen on the medal stand while the world watches.

But boycott or no boycott there is something we can do right here, right now, in Seattle and other US cities to show our solidarity with Russian queers and their allies and to help to draw international attention to the persecution of gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, trans people, and straight allies in Putin's increasingly fascistic Russia: DUMP RUSSIAN VODKA.

DUMPRUSSIANVODKA_square_logo.jpg

Here is a list of Russian vodkas currently available in the US: Dovgan, Gold Symphony, Standart, Hrenovuha, Kauffman , Kubanskaya, Moskovskaya, Narodnaya, Pyatizvyozdnaya, Putinka, Rodnik, Ruskova, Russian Standard, Shustov, Starka, Stolnaya, Youri Dolgoruki. The two best known Russian vodkas? Russian Standard and Stolichnaya.

Matt Fikse-Verkerk, a strategic communications consultant here in Seattle, has been calling queer bars in Seattle to find out if they serve Stoli, the most iconic brand of Russian vodka. (Matt also created the image above. The image is currently my Twitter avatar—why not make it yours?) Every single gay bar whose manager Matt got on the phone told him that they were serving Stoli. Purr, The Cuff, The Lobby Bar, Madison Pub, Bottleneck Lounge, C. C. Attle's, Changes, the Crescent Lounge, Diesel, and R-Place—they're all serving Stoli. It's a good bet that the Seattle Eagle, Neighbours, the Wildrose, Pony, and the rest of Seattle's gay bars are serving Stoli too.

Seattle's bars, gay and straight, must dump Stoli. Seattle's drinkers, gay and straight, must dump Stoli.

Some are arguing—based on Stoli's outdated Wiki page and the claims being made by Stoli itself—that Stoli isn't a Russian vodka. "Presently the internationally distributed version of Stolichnaya is not a Russian vodka but is distilled and bottled in Latvia," Stoli's Wiki page currently (and erroneously) reads. "In 2009, William Grant & Sons signed an agreement to distribute Stolichnaya in the USA, taking over from PepsiCo." That's old news. On January 1, 2014, Stoli becomes a Russian vodka again. William Grant & Sons will no longer be distributing Stoli in the United States at the start of the new year:

William Grant & Sons and SPI Group announce that their current contract for the importation, distribution and marketing of Stolichnaya Vodka in the United States will not be renewed when it expires on December 31, 2013. The decision is a result of SPI Group’s desire to manage its portfolio of brands directly; SPI Group will therefore be establishing its own importing company in the United States during 2013, commencing operations on 1st January 2014.

The SPI Group—which will be distributing Stoli in the USA before the Olympic games begin this winter—is owned by Yuri Scheffler, one of the 100 richest men in Russia. Stoli is a Russian vodka.

DUMP RUSSIAN VODKA.

If you drink a Russian Vodka like Stoli, Russian Standard, or any of the other brands listed above, switch to another brand from another country, or even a local brand from a local distillery. Stoli is the iconic Russian Vodka and it's returning to Russian ownership in 2014. Other brands like Russian Standard should also be boycotted. Do not drink Russian vodka. Do not buy Russian vodka. Ask your bartender at your favorite bar—gay or otherwise—to DUMP STOLI and DUMP RUSSIAN VODKA.

Own a gay bar in Seattle? Stop serving Russian vodkas.

Tweet your support using the hashtags #DUMPSTOLI and #DUMPRUSSIANVODKA. And tell you friends about what is happening in Russia and ask them to DUMP STOLI and DUMP RUSSIAN VODKA.

Here is a PDF of a terrific two-sided flyer, created by Matt, that you can print out and distribute. Here's a PDF of another DUMP RUSSIAN VODKA graphic created by Matt.

More soon.

UPDATE: Chicago's biggest gay bar announced tonight that they are no longer selling Stoli or any other Russian products. Windy City Times:

Sidetrack today said that it would be removing Stolichnaya Vodka and other Russian products from their shelves. The decision comes in the wake of Russia's implementation of oppressive anti-gay laws last month.

"I had been following the various news reports about what was going on in Russia," said co-owner Art Johnston. "It's hard to believe that they could carry out and enforce that kind of a law, but they did." He added that there was no way he could in good conscience continue to serve Stolichnaya or any other Russian products at the nightclub. Businesses that imported and distributed Stolichnaya for Sidetrack have been huge supporters of the LGBT community, Johnston said. "They've always been quite responsive to us, so it's not a move that we take lightly."

The ownership of the Stolichnaya name was the subject of international litigation for many years. In 2012, it was returned to the Russian government. A statement Sidetrack posted on its Facebook page noted the irony: "Very soon the Russian government itself, which bans positive portrayals of LGBT people, may be the beneficiary of the goodwill earned by Stoli's distributors and bars over the years."

The Call, another gay bar in Chicago, posted this sign tonight that reads, "Proudly serving non-Russian vodkas." Seattle's gay bars should follow Sidetrack and The Call's lead and stop serving Stoli or other Russian products.

 

Comments (170) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
Baconcat 1
I kinda like your take from 6 years ago: http://slog.thestranger.com/2007/06/stol…
Posted by Baconcat on July 24, 2013 at 4:58 PM · Report this
2
If only there were a place that was LGBT-friendly _and_ made lots of good vodka.

Oh wait. WE'RE LIVING IN IT.
Posted by 14limes on July 24, 2013 at 4:58 PM · Report this
3
So who are the bars serving Stoli?

Come on, name names.
Posted by Agrippa on July 24, 2013 at 5:00 PM · Report this
yelahneb 4
The sentiment is true, but.... Doesn't this simply punish Russian companies, rather than the Russian government? If a distinction is not being drawn, should the boycott extend to Russian restaurants? What about businesses simply owned by Russians?

Not trying to start a fight, just trying to distinguish the target.
Posted by yelahneb http://www.strangebutharmless.com on July 24, 2013 at 5:02 PM · Report this
5
@ 4 - Russian businesses are better able to exert pressure on the Russian government than American citizens. And if American citizens want Russian businesses to listen to us, we must speak with our dollars.
Posted by MiscKitty on July 24, 2013 at 5:11 PM · Report this
Dougsf 6
@4 — In a perfect scenario, if enough people in the US stopped buying Russian vodka, the dent in export revenue would get Russian lawmakers attention. Of course Putin's regime isn't exactly famously sensitive to the will of outsiders, but hey, not buying Russian vodka is literally the least we can do.

There's no reason to lump Russian nationals or ex-pats into this.
Posted by Dougsf on July 24, 2013 at 5:17 PM · Report this
7
But Stoli Blueberri is so delicious.
Posted by Chali2Na on July 24, 2013 at 5:17 PM · Report this
Fnarf 8
I boycott all vodka, so this is easy. But two things:

* every bar should not only stop carrying Stoli but should put up big signs saying why, maybe with an ugly picture of a Russian gay parader getting his face broken from your link.

* The straight athletes in the US team have to protest too, even if it results in punishment from the team -- ESPECIALLY if it results in punishment from the team. I'd like to see a gay rights banner, in Russian, during the opening ceremonies march. Or 200-odd lavender gloves, one on each right hand, or something. Create an incident, but make it big enough to have a real impact on the news. If they all get arrested, so much the better -- imagine the furore if hundreds of athletes get dragged out of the stadium during the ceremony.

I've been in that stadium where Tommy Smith and John Carlos held their fists aloft, the Estadio Olimpico Universitario, and a little chill ran up and down my spine (though that may also have been because I was looking at the pit where one of my childhood heroes Bob Beamon destroyed the long jump record). Maybe somebody will feel that way about a Russian stadium in 45 years. Too long, too long.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on July 24, 2013 at 5:18 PM · Report this
Sargon Bighorn 9
#4 The distinction is to boycott things made in Russia. The Russian cafes here is Seattle buy all ingredients here in the States. Keep in mind people that this is all being pushed by the ROC (Russian Orthodox Church). There would be peace and prosperity in Russia in 60 days if the Churches would stop teaching hate and start teaching love. But hate brings people to a boil and that mob is easier to use.
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on July 24, 2013 at 6:00 PM · Report this
scary tyler moore 10
don't forget polish vodka, too. they are just as repressive as russian when it comes to LGBT rights. buy and drink amurrican liquor!
Posted by scary tyler moore http://pushymcshove.blogspot.com/ on July 24, 2013 at 6:03 PM · Report this
11
Svedka is cheaper and better than Stoli.
IMHO
Posted by SifuMark on July 24, 2013 at 6:04 PM · Report this
delirian 12
Why not boycott the Olympics? It might send a message to the IOC not to select homophobic places in the future.
Posted by delirian on July 24, 2013 at 6:05 PM · Report this
delirian 13
All you folks with your fancy vodkas. I bet they even even come in glass bottles, you rich bastards.
Posted by delirian on July 24, 2013 at 6:07 PM · Report this
14
This is surprisingly dumb Dan, especially coming from you who are normally so erudite. Unless I've missed how vodka companies are the driving force behind these laws, I hardly think that the "Vodka Lobby" is really setup for lobbying on social justice issues. Why not some other totally unrelated Russian products like oil and natural gas? I hear Putin locks up a gay person every time you turn on your stove!
Posted by ComradeStoli on July 24, 2013 at 6:10 PM · Report this
I'm Comin' for ya Mama! 15
I quit drinkin' so that part's easy. But now I have to give up Olympic curling? That's harsh.
Posted by I'm Comin' for ya Mama! http://www.packers.com on July 24, 2013 at 6:12 PM · Report this
16
Isn't it time we brought an end to Putin's boozy gangster party? The discovery of oil back in the U.S.S.R. has turned a somber, intellectual nation of chess players, athletes and novelists into a vast dystopia of knuckleheads and escorts.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on July 24, 2013 at 6:15 PM · Report this
Fnarf 17
@14, Russian natural gas supplies Europe, not the US. And we are close to becoming a major gas exporter, which could wean Europe off of Russian gas, which would have the very interesting effect of cutting off Russia's only valuable export, which would destroy their economy. Destroyed economies tend to be pretty bad on human rights....
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on July 24, 2013 at 6:16 PM · Report this
18
oooh, another boycott!

fun!!

Danny dear, please update us on the Utah boycott.

btw, did you notice that Salt Lake is the most upwardly mobile city in the USA?
Posted by we sure taught THEM..... on July 24, 2013 at 6:20 PM · Report this
19
Fuck Stoli is my favorite vodka but since production is back in Russian hands, and the owner is one of the richest 100, I'm in. Russia is an Oligarchy now so yeah hitting one of the Oligarchs in the wallet might just help.
Posted by Machiavelli was framed on July 24, 2013 at 6:25 PM · Report this
Phoebe in Wallingford 20
I don't have the budget to dump my Stoli, I have 2 bottles to go. But I won't buy any more Russian vodka after that.
Posted by Phoebe in Wallingford on July 24, 2013 at 6:27 PM · Report this
21
#17

Or we could build a hydrogen economy.

Like Britain.

Home to Little Prince Boy George.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on July 24, 2013 at 6:30 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 22
Um, everybody? Better check out if this is true before you go dumping Stoli...

Presently the internationally distributed version of Stolichnaya is not a Russian vodka but is distilled and bottled in Latvia.


Latvia is independent of Russia, and is culturally very different. If this is true, you'll be hurting the wrong country.
Posted by Matt from Denver on July 24, 2013 at 6:40 PM · Report this
23

#22

Yes, you're right. It sounds like buying more Stoli would do harm to Russia as they lost control of the brand. So drink up!
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on July 24, 2013 at 6:46 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 24
Well, the cash flow for Stoli is probably going back to Mother Russia. So ... I'll see what I can find out.
Posted by Matt from Denver on July 24, 2013 at 6:50 PM · Report this
Ophian 25
I can do without Russian vodka and other products [I'll even give up my mid-morning beluga caviar snacks], but I want to see queer and allied athletes with medals on their necks and some kind of visual signal of queerness/alliedness.

As the raised fist was a gesture--literally--of Black Power/Pride, is their a queer equivalent? Dan, can you come up with--and globally popularize--a strong, international hand-sign for Queer Pride? In time for the Olympics? Please?
Posted by Ophian on July 24, 2013 at 6:53 PM · Report this
The Beatles 26
Dan, you're the man, but I don't think a boycott of Russian vodka is really going to have any impact at all. This isn't the U.S. we're talking about, it's a totalitarian regime (viva la difference, eh?), and totalitarians don't have to give a shit about consumer boycotts. If they want to oppress people, they'll damn well do it, and in fact may even be goaded to double down under pressure. It may make people in the western world feel better about doing something, but it won't change the plight of queers over there.

Now if this were San Francisco in 1974 and Coors beer, then maybe...

Posted by The Beatles on July 24, 2013 at 6:54 PM · Report this
delirian 27
@22: Dan covered this. RTFA.
Posted by delirian on July 24, 2013 at 6:55 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 28
Interesting. The Stoli brand is a mess, at least as far as international distribution goes. Seems that the Soviet Union's monopoly on vodka export was dissolved ("illegally" as alleged by the current Russian Federation), and that many brands were sold to a company called SPI for a mere $300,000. This company, which is Russian (but headed by a man who fled to Switzerland and faces arrest if he goes back) is the one distilling in Latvia and selling it to the world. Another Russian company (backed by the government) sued in US court over the use of the Stoli brand but lost.

Interestingly, another lawsuit brought by Russian Standard alleged that it was all distilled in Latvia, but SPI claims it's distilled in the Russian cities of Kaliningrad and Tambov, but is then shipped to Latvia for bottling and export. But... they also admitted to smuggling the vodka out of Russia by labeling it under another name.

I don't care for Stoli myself. But it sounds like a boycott of Stoli may not impact Russia meaningfully... or maybe it would? If only there was a more recent article. (Although various blogs and info sites confirm Stoli's current Latvian origin.)
Posted by Matt from Denver on July 24, 2013 at 7:05 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 29
@ 27, you're right. Well, that's my fault for letting my eyes glaze over at all the bolding and capitalizing. (Wonder why that article Dan links didn't show up on my search? My google-fu is failing me...)
Posted by Matt from Denver on July 24, 2013 at 7:07 PM · Report this
venomlash 30
@21: Gydrohem etc.
Posted by venomlash on July 24, 2013 at 7:10 PM · Report this
The Beatles 31
Anyone else notice that the Russian gendarmes' logo, rendered in Cyrillic--OMOH--is "homo" spelled backwards?
Posted by The Beatles on July 24, 2013 at 7:25 PM · Report this
32
Well, as some who almost never drinks, I promise that when I don't drink, it will be Russian vodka I won't be drinking. (Okay, and when I do drink, too, but it may take a year or two to test my resolve.)
Posted by PCM on July 24, 2013 at 7:28 PM · Report this
sheiler 33
I asked Martina Navratilova what she thought of boycotting the Olympics. She said, "I never believed in boycotts, that’s running away from the problem."
Posted by sheiler http://sheilerama.com on July 24, 2013 at 7:44 PM · Report this
34
I don't drink vodka and I rarely eat caviar. Is there something else I can boycott?
Posted by Clayton on July 24, 2013 at 7:45 PM · Report this
35
Instead of boycotting the Olympics, I suggest that all countries that are appalled by what is going on officially stitch a small rainbow logo into their uniform designs, big enough to be seen on TV. Then Russia has to make the choice to either accept the logo or ban that whole country. You will see them bow down about as quickly as they did in Cuba. And while they will try to film around it whenever they can, the whole drama around every cut will create more media attention than they ever wanted to attract and every artificial blending away of cameras in the official Russian reporting will be commented on, and the ensuing internet dialog will be endless. And it should be on all uniforms of athletes, coaches, associated delegates, etc.
Make it backfire on Russia - that is the way to fight back.

And every country would be indirectly required to take sides, not only EU and US, but also Australia, NZ, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa...and on and on and on. Russia would achieve exactly the opposite of what they intended. It needs to be part of the uniform, rather than an individual choice. Individuals would obviously just become targets for expressing support for LGBT. The different Olympic delegations that are now thinking about their stance on the matter and whether they are going to boycott, hopefully decide to go this route in sufficient enough numbers. This way the athletes would have their games, yet the Olympic spirit and oath would be honored and Russia as a country in its human rights violation would find itself exposed.
Please help spread this idea!

Posted by cwi on July 24, 2013 at 7:53 PM · Report this
36
LOL and STFU faggots. Long live Putin and death to all queers. All bars serve Stoli b/c it is he best. Roast in hell fuckers.
Posted by Super aids please evolve on July 24, 2013 at 7:58 PM · Report this
Fred Casely 37
Here is a list of Russian vodkas currently available in the US: Dovgan, Gold Symphony, Standart, Hrenovuha, Kauffman, Kubanskaya, Moskovskaya, Narodnaya, Pyatizvyozdnaya, Putinka, Rodnik, Ruskova, Russian Standard, Shustov, Starka, Stolnaya, Youri Dolgoruki


I'll DOUBLE boycott that one.
Posted by Fred Casely on July 24, 2013 at 8:02 PM · Report this
Dr. Z 38
This reminds me of the Coors beer boycott of the1970s-80s. And yes, you'd better believe it will work.
Posted by Dr. Z on July 24, 2013 at 8:08 PM · Report this
39
Plenty of Seattle vodka you should be drinking regardless.
Posted by tiktok on July 24, 2013 at 8:24 PM · Report this
Mattini 40
How bout my bottle of Smifnoff vodka? Or is that just a Russiany-sounding brand name to sound authentic?
Posted by Mattini on July 24, 2013 at 8:26 PM · Report this
seandr 41
I don't drink vodka, and I'm not giving up my mail order brides. Does Russia export anything else I can boycott?
Posted by seandr on July 24, 2013 at 9:23 PM · Report this
42
@21

Attention Venomlash

Your constant mocking of things that I post in the same gainsaying manner is, I believe, in violation of the terms and conditions of the comments within SLOG.

If you persist, I will make make case to the Editors, based on the terms and conditions stated below:


Content Posting Guidelines

You agree not to use The Stranger's website to: (A) publish content that is unlawful, threatening, abusive, harassing, tortious, defamatory, obscene, invasive of another's privacy, or reflective of racial or ethnic bias;


tortious (ˈtɔːʃəs)

— adj
law having the nature of or involving a tort; wrongful

[C14: from Anglo-French torcious, from torcion, literally: a twisting, from Late Latin tortiō torment, from Latin torquēre to twist; influenced in meaning by tort ]


Tortious interference, also known as intentional interference with contractual relations, in the common law of torts, occurs when a person intentionally damages the plaintiff's contractual or other business relationships.


I hope this is fair warning.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on July 24, 2013 at 9:25 PM · Report this
43
#28

So it's easier just to order Absolut?

http://www.absolut.com/us

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on July 24, 2013 at 9:28 PM · Report this
Foghorn Leghorn 44
This is like saying "Not all US States Allow Gay Marriage. Boycott all Bourbon!"
Posted by Foghorn Leghorn on July 24, 2013 at 9:53 PM · Report this
DOUG. 45
@41: Oil.
Posted by DOUG. http://www.dougsvotersguide.com on July 24, 2013 at 10:23 PM · Report this
46
I already don't drink Russian vodkas, because why would you trust them when there are plenty of other vodkas out there?

That said, given that I can be arrested in Russia just because some cop suspects I'm pro-gay means I won't ever be visiting there. Not that I really wanted to mind you, but it would have been cool to check out St. Petersburg at some point.
Posted by K X One on July 24, 2013 at 10:45 PM · Report this
mikethehammer 47
I agree with Fnarf that something involving the athletes would be huge. Not as much into the colored gloves thing though, for various reasons. Given how iconic the rainbow flag has become, I'd prefer to see that somehow incorporated into the mix, maybe at the ceremonial lap they take at the opening ceremony, or even just carried up onto the podium and waved at a medal presentation if that was somehow more powerful.
Posted by mikethehammer on July 24, 2013 at 10:48 PM · Report this
48
It's not enough to boycott the olympics. Boycott all american advertisers who sponsor the TV broadcasts of this olympic games.
Posted by SpGNo on July 24, 2013 at 10:50 PM · Report this
seandr 49
@45: Right. And those little dolls you open up and look, another doll! And kalashnikovs. And..... ?

Kind of a useless country, isn't it?
Posted by seandr on July 24, 2013 at 11:01 PM · Report this
sperifera 50
@42 - Har dee har har. I'm sure the Editors are going to eat that one up. Come back to the real world, Bailo.
Posted by sperifera on July 24, 2013 at 11:27 PM · Report this
scary tyler moore 51
well, aren't we thin skinned, SROTU. what's the matter? escort service wouldn't take your credit card?
Posted by scary tyler moore http://pushymcshove.blogspot.com/ on July 24, 2013 at 11:27 PM · Report this
52
And as always what happens now is up to you.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDaLEGb_m…

Posted by Machiavelli was framed on July 25, 2013 at 12:11 AM · Report this
Andy Niable 53
Clever as it is, I don't think we're going to drink our way to helping the LGBT Russians. Please, let's not fall down the KONY 2012 Slacktivist Trap, and instead how about we put as much energy into pushing the Obama "Gay Rights Are Human Rights" Department of State to applying IMMEDIATE and DIRECT pressure on this issue. Boycotts take time, and have a spotty record of effectiveness...
Posted by Andy Niable on July 25, 2013 at 12:27 AM · Report this
disintegrator 54
Tennessee has a gay marriage ban. Does that mean I shouldn't drink Bourbon from there? Because I am NOT willing to go that far.

Sorry.
Posted by disintegrator on July 25, 2013 at 1:49 AM · Report this
55 Comment Pulled (Spam) Comment Policy
Pope Peabrain 56
Everyone can do something. Don't watch the games on t.v. Don't buy what's advertised during the games on t.v. If we can get just ten % to not support t.v. broadcast, it would cost millions.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on July 25, 2013 at 6:33 AM · Report this
57
It's worth noting that Seattle has one of five Russian Consulates in the United States. It's not far from Capital Hill. It's in One Union on 600 University St.

Maybe you could tell an official Government representative that there are plenty of good reasons for them to change their policy. Maybe open up the dialogue with a carrot and not a stick?

For more information on the Russian Consular Offices
http://www.netconsul.org/
Posted by rspencer2 on July 25, 2013 at 7:04 AM · Report this
58
Why not ask of your governments to dump Russian oil instead? That would be much more effective.
Posted by JeromeM on July 25, 2013 at 7:04 AM · Report this
59
@54: If you can't perceive the difference between a ban on same-sex marriage and an active and violent and politically-motivated campaign that targets and scapegoating a vulnerable minority group... you're too stupid to bother with.
Posted by Dan Savage on July 25, 2013 at 7:04 AM · Report this
60
Pogrom is too strong a word for what's happening in Russia; it demeans the experience of eastern jews whose families experienced pogroms throughout the 2nd millenium; it also cheapens the word. It's like Calling 9/11 the American Holocaust.

That being said, the IOC should NOT be holding Olympics in a state that openly has these types of policies. Forger a boycott - the games should either be immediately moved or simply cancelled, and the shame should rest fully on the Russian electorate.
Posted by fetish on July 25, 2013 at 7:22 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 61
@ 60, I disagree. If all the parallels between the situatin today and the pre-WWI era aren't all there, that's a matter of a) the fact that LGBT people, born as they are, are fully integrated and can't be forced into a Pale of Settlement, and b) it just hasn't yet gotten that bad. But it is still the government itself organizing riots against a minority of its own population, and therefore calling these riots "pogroms" is entirely in keeping with that word's definition.
Posted by Matt from Denver on July 25, 2013 at 7:37 AM · Report this
62
@60 agree completely though unlikely to happen given the years of planning needed to prep the location. Also agree re progrom, I thought it was a typo until your comment, thank you for inciting me to educate myself a bit.

I'm throwing a plug out for Effen vodka--Dutch and so so so good. Especially love the cucumber flavor this time of year, throw some in a glass with ice, a splash of sprite, and a lime = refreshing drunken goodness :)
Posted by jujubee80 on July 25, 2013 at 7:43 AM · Report this
63
Dump Stoli, DRINK ABSOLUTE!!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9FHa0aMa…

Posted by SeanLiberty on July 25, 2013 at 7:58 AM · Report this
64
Dump Stoli, DRINK ABSOLUTE!!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9FHa0aMa…

Posted by SeanLiberty on July 25, 2013 at 7:59 AM · Report this
65
drink more beer!
Posted by a bear on July 25, 2013 at 8:12 AM · Report this
66
Seattle being the HOME of a MAJOR buyer of Russian vodka that being COSTCO. Rally up & go to their HQ in Issaquah, or out front of their warehouses!!!!
Posted by TABSEA on July 25, 2013 at 9:01 AM · Report this
67
There's an important difference between 1968 US and today's Russia. Kareem would not have been arrested just for being black. Well.... as long as he wasn't driving or wearing a hoodie, I guess -- point is, there were no "anti-black" laws. But gay athletes who travel to Russia may be arrested simply for being gay -- *legitimately* under the explicitly anti-gay laws. Does a rainbow flag pin count as "homosexual propaganda" in Russia? I bet you it does.
Posted by K on July 25, 2013 at 9:28 AM · Report this
68
Hm, I'm starting to wonder that maybe Dan's focus on this issue will actually come to something. Maybe if we created something similar to the santorum bomb... Ridicule could actually be very effective considering the collective complex of inferiority of our government.
Posted by puddles on July 25, 2013 at 9:40 AM · Report this
69
Stoli isn't even from Russia anymore; it's based in Latvia. Not only that, but as a company Stoli sponsors all sorts of LGBT events all over the country. Why don't you do your research before you lead a witch hunt against a totally incorrect target?
Posted by kilanjared on July 25, 2013 at 10:34 AM · Report this
70
Stoli isn't even from Russia anymore; it's based in Latvia. Not only that, but as a company Stoli sponsors all sorts of LGBT events all over the country. Why don't you do your research before you lead a witch hunt against a totally incorrect target?
Posted by kilanjared on July 25, 2013 at 10:36 AM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 71
Fleischmann's isn't from Russia right??

whew!

/pours another screwdriver
//also, vodak
Posted by Urgutha Forka on July 25, 2013 at 10:48 AM · Report this
TreGibbs 72
Listent to the LGBT people of Russia - boycotting Russian Vodka will do very little, if nothing. Jesus Christ, Dan. What's happening to you? Focus on what Russia exports most and call for a boycott of that.
Posted by TreGibbs on July 25, 2013 at 10:50 AM · Report this
Lezzy.Minell 73
The WildRose is an Absolute bar, no Stoli there!
Posted by Lezzy.Minell on July 25, 2013 at 12:21 PM · Report this
IJelly 74
Read this. It is truly horrifying.

https://sites.google.com/a/spectrumhr.or…

It's not just the Russian government. The whole society has gone crazy about the gays.
Posted by IJelly on July 25, 2013 at 12:47 PM · Report this
75
here is a statement i just got from Stoli… WHO IS TELLING THE TRUTH ABOUT STOLI BEING A RUSSIAN COMPANY?????

Media Statement: Stolichnaya Premium Vodka has and continues to be a fervent supporter and friend of the LGBT community. The brand's ongoing commitment to the LGBT community currently includes an exclusive national partnership with Gaycities.com & Queerty.com in search of the Most Original Stoli Guy. Previous national initiatives included serving as the official vodka of Miami Gay Pride Week as well as ongoing events with a focus on Pride month. While Stoli is made from Russian ingredients, the brand is not a Russian company and is not affiliated and/or tied to the Russian government. Stoli firmly opposes the beliefs supported by the Russian Government in relation to the LGBT community.

Twitter Statement:
· Stolichnaya Premium Vodka continues to proudly support the LGBT community with this year’s nationwide Most Original Stoli Guy competition in partnership with GayCities & Queerty

· Stolichnaya Premium Vodka strongly opposes the beliefs supported by the Russian Government in relation to the LGBT community

Sean Heal
William Grant & Sons
Division Marketing Manager
mobile (1): 619-733-6594
Posted by Erok on July 25, 2013 at 1:02 PM · Report this
You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me 76
The Olympic commitee, and therefor Russia, don't give a rats ass if individual athletes get thier panties in a bunch. You want to get thier attention you need a national boycott (like in 1980). Of course Obama neither cares about gays enough to go there nor dose he have balls as big as Carter's. (And Carter had itty bitty teeny tiny soft little balls).

Failing that, a publicized and organized boycott of all Olympic sponsors and advertisers doing business in the US (and unrelenting negative press painting them as homophobes) is the best open channel. Put Coca Cola, P&G, Visa, Nike, McDonald's and the rest of them on notice now that if they sponsor the games or its athletes in any way they will be mercilessly smeared as homophobic and you might get traction. With a little luck Chick-Filet will be the only US sponsor / advertiser. Mess with the revenue stream (both the Olympic committee's and NBC's) and you might make someone with power give a shit.

Stoli is small potatoes....
Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me on July 25, 2013 at 1:12 PM · Report this
You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me 77
Also... Name another Russian company that even puts forward a pro-gay position... Why would we punish our only "friend" in Russia???

Holding Stoli, who, as a company markets a very pro-gay position, responsible for the Duma & Putin is equivalent to holding American Airlines (which launched its Rainbow campaign, an LGBT-dedicated sales staff and Web site to serve the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community, way back in 1994) responsible for the actions of Congress and Obama.

Why does the gay community always lash out at its supporters over injustice. I assume, in this case, its because the only Russian product we can think of is vodka... Particularity Stoli... Probably because Stoli sponsors our parades, advertises in our media and is front and center in our bars.

Geesh!
Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me on July 25, 2013 at 1:26 PM · Report this
darkmoonman55 78
How about this time we don't listen to the status quo apologists, wimp out, and end up do nothing? How about trying to pull together for the world wide gay community? Boycott Russia and Jamaica and all their products.
Posted by darkmoonman55 on July 25, 2013 at 1:44 PM · Report this
79
You've got to be kidding me. Just when I think Americans are making headway internationally, they up and out stupid themselves. Slow clap for boycotting a country and a culture that is largely NOT IN CONTROL of their government.
Posted by TristaCrass on July 25, 2013 at 2:43 PM · Report this
80
You might want to do research before you decide to promote a boycott - Stoli is NOT made in Russia - the US brand name is owned by Pepsi and it is made in Latvia - a FORMER Soviet country. Sheep - I hear the baaa's in the background.
Posted by Tazz602 on July 25, 2013 at 3:04 PM · Report this
81
As for me I will stay with my Absolut. Citron
Posted by Evelyn hanrahan on July 25, 2013 at 3:08 PM · Report this
Kevin_BGFH 82
@40 - Smirnoff is owned and produced by a British company, Diageo, and is produced and bottled in India, Ireland, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States. Despite the Russian-sounding name, there's nothing Russian about it.
Posted by Kevin_BGFH http://biggayfrathouse.typepad.com/blog/ on July 25, 2013 at 3:11 PM · Report this
83
Holy Fuck, Dan Savage, you are the goddamn stupidest shit of all time. I can't believe this happened. Fucking American trash.
Posted by andrewi31 on July 25, 2013 at 3:12 PM · Report this
84
Stoli is NOT Russian. It's Latvian! Latvia gained independence from Russia in 1991 and was only occupied by Russia since the 40's.
Posted by South FLorida Gay News on July 25, 2013 at 3:23 PM · Report this
You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me 85
So... To review the directive from our Gay Overlords: We are to boycott a pro-gay Latvian product because of anti-gay Russian policies.

Got it!

Should I also cancel my week in Aruba because of, you know, Jamaica?
Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me on July 25, 2013 at 3:43 PM · Report this
You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me 86
And furthermore, IF Stoli is Russian, don't press releases like the one cited @75 and their blatantly pro gay marketing efforts put them in violation of the law as written??? Aren't they being outwardly supportive of the gay community at extreme risk to themselves. This bullshit boycott potentially punishes a potential victim of the law.

Way to go Dan. Persecute the victim.
Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me on July 25, 2013 at 3:55 PM · Report this
87
After making a comment on this blog, I was schooled! (I admit error!) Stoli, even though is Latvian, it owned by SPI, and RUSSIAN owned company. http://www.spi-group.com/
Posted by South FLorida Gay News on July 25, 2013 at 4:02 PM · Report this
You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me 88
Seems to me that Stoli's fervent support of the gay community may put Stoli and its owners in direct violation of the Russian propaganda law. I can't see where it can be read to permit pro gay propaganda by a Russian company (or citizen) anywhere (in or out of Russia). Maybe you can point out a loophole that I'm not seeing that protects them from retaliation under the law for even sending letters like this much less sponsoring the activities described in the letter.

In effect, Dan, you seek to punish a potential victim of the law where you should be supporting its defiance of the law.

How about finding a Russian (not Latvian) company with a bad (or even no) record on gay issues and stick it to them instead. Or is your world so small the Stoli is the only "Russian" product you can think of on a sunny Thursday afternoon?
Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me on July 25, 2013 at 4:18 PM · Report this
89
One problem with boycotting Stoli is it's not even made in Russia. It's made in Latvia.
Change has to come from within Russia, not from the west. There are plenty Russians who are appalled by the acts of those Gopniks, and have no problem with homosexuals.
These laws are being used by Putin to divert the public's attention away from his political parties blatant corruption and persecution of those who have called him out on it.
Posted by LLH on July 25, 2013 at 4:36 PM · Report this
90
Polish vodka is better anyway. Chopin is the best vodka in the world, as far as I'm concerned. And while I wouldn't say Poland is extraordinarily LGBT friendly, it's no Russia. There is a trans member of the Sejm (parliment), forcryinoutloud. When I marched in the Pride parade in Krakow in 2008 I was egged by the knuckleheads protesting, but overall there was excellent police protection.

BTW, did you know vodka (wódka) is just the diminutive of water (woda)? It's like aguacita.
Posted by facet on July 25, 2013 at 5:03 PM · Report this
91
Kareem Abdul Jabbar didn't boycott the 1968 Olympic games. Lew Alcindor did. Just being fussy here.
Posted by Dr. M on July 25, 2013 at 7:25 PM · Report this
92
Remember after 9/11 all the right-wingers demanded "Freedom Fries" with their cheeseburgers?
Way to stick it in and break it off.

We haven't learned much, have we?
Posted by plooperson on July 25, 2013 at 8:38 PM · Report this
93
Remember after 9/11, all the right-wingers demanded "freedom fries" with their cheeseburgers?
Way to stick it in and break it off.
Posted by plooperson on July 25, 2013 at 8:44 PM · Report this
94
Perhaps the designer of the US Olympic team outfits for the games (all of them) should be done in the Pride rainbow. It's not like Russia will do anything about it. But frankly, the IOC should be doing something about this - like threatening to pull the games. In the absence of this, the West should boycott. I'm a huge Olympics fan, and I'm going to pass watching if it's in Russia under these terms.
Posted by Tom Helios on July 25, 2013 at 9:13 PM · Report this
curtisp 95
I will NOT buy Russian vodka and will let bartenders know not to put Russian vodka in my drinks and why.
Posted by curtisp on July 25, 2013 at 9:45 PM · Report this
96
So Stupid. Stoli is a HUGE gay supporter! I guess I will just have to drink more :) Dan, I really really HATE you with every fiber of my being you self-serving douche.
Posted by Mark87H on July 25, 2013 at 10:45 PM · Report this
97
There's Russian Consulate General in Seattle. Why don't we show them our protest to anti-gay laws and our support LGBT community in Russia. Here's the address and their phone: 600 University St Ste 2510, Seattle · (206) 728-1910
Posted by amorcord1 on July 26, 2013 at 12:06 AM · Report this
98
This is actually a pretty good idea... a start... but could take it further to pressure companies to move production out of Russia
So companies like Smirnoff who are foreign owned but still have products produced in Russia
Posted by abercrombiescruffy on July 26, 2013 at 1:44 AM · Report this
99
I wanted to add a thought about the athletes to the on going debate about whether or not we should boycott the winter Olympics in Russia this year. I had a friend who had trained almost her whole life to be good enough at her sport to be an athlete at the Olympics. She made it and was going to be part of the Olympics. She was elated. All the things she had missed in order to practice, all of the pain she had endured, all of the pushing she had done to her body to become the best, the years and years she had given to become one of the best athletes in the world and compete on the world stage, all of it was worth it because she had succeeded in winning a spot on a US Olympic team. And then we boycotted the Olympics and i watched all of her dreams fall apart and vanish. It was the 1980 summer Olympics in Moscow. It was over 30 years ago and still it gets me every time i think about it. It was awful to watch her have everything she had worked so tremendously hard for be gone in a moment and there was nothing that she could do about it. I am not saying that i know whether boycotting or not boycotting is the best decision. I just think it is important to take what boycotting does to the athletes into consideration.
Posted by WriteOnMomma on July 26, 2013 at 5:09 AM · Report this
100
Stoli is not really a Russian vodka! Produced in Latvia. Owned by a Russian that the Russian government considers stole the brand from them and he can not go back to Russia and is actively pursued by the Government. Stoli sold in Russia is produced by a Government entity not related to SPI.
Posted by Jakob Bengt on July 26, 2013 at 5:23 AM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 101
This isn't the first time Dan has been a stupid fuck. For damned sure it won't be the last time, either. And the last thing you'll ever get out of him is the words "sorry, I was wrong."

OK, I still think he's a pretty OK guy, in spite of that. I can be an asshole too sometimes. But he's dead wrong here. And so are those of you who agree with him.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty http://www.nra.org on July 26, 2013 at 5:40 AM · Report this
dlauri 102
The debate about whether Stoli is Russian or not misses the larger issue, which is that what's happening in Russia to queers is horrible.

See this GailyGrind report from yesterday, Russian Neo Nazi Groups Tricking and Torturing Gay Male Teenagers: http://www.thegailygrind.com/2013/07/25/…

We should stop doing business with Russia altogether, although our continuing to do business with places such as Saudi Arabia with its violations of the rights of women and queers shows that capitalism trumps human rights.
Posted by dlauri http://www.davidlauri.com on July 26, 2013 at 6:43 AM · Report this
Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In 103
101, If you have another idea & are willing to work to see that idea through, then great, dismiss the Stoli boycott. But you don't. And even if you did, you're not going to do squat about it. We both know that.

Saying a solution is stupid contributes absolutely zilch. It's worse than slacktivism-- it still gives you the illusion that you're doing something, but it also gets in the way of those who actually are.
Posted by Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In on July 26, 2013 at 10:46 AM · Report this
Rockindad 104
Dear Dan: As owner of Faultline in L.A., I immediately pulled our only stocked "Russian" vodka, Stolichnaya, due to web references that "Stoli" is a state-owned brand of the "Government of Russia" (Wikipedia).

But, the CEO Val Mendeleev of SPI, described as global distributor for Stoli on most websites, has issued a letter to all liquor distributors in the US proclaiming not only allegiance of the Stoli brand to the LGBT community in numerous verifiable ways, but disclaiming the idea that Stoli is a Russian-owned brand at all. In fact he says that SPI, based in Amsterdam, is the sole owner of the brand and that no profits from the company go to the Government of Russia or any other Russian-based owner.

The only real "Russian" connection seems to be that ingredients (wheat, water) come from Russia. Mendeleev stresses that Stoli is distilled in Latvia , is wholly-owned by SPI Amsterdam and that substantial profits in fact go toward promoting a very visible support of gay events internationally.

Dan, I continue to support the ban on Coors because, even though the family doesn't run the company itself anymore, they certainly profit from it as stockholders. My support of that boycott and this Russian boycott stems from a desire to not contribute financially to enemies of the gay community. Please give us your position on the boycott of the Stolichnaya brand and whether, given this scenario of actual ownership, it is still appropriate to boycott Stoli along with other more intrinsically Russian products.

thanks!
Shawn daddy
Posted by Rockindad on July 26, 2013 at 11:08 AM · Report this
alanmotley 105
Let me start by saying I don’t dislike Dan Savage. In fact I have followed him over the years and can respect a man that tirelessly works to uplift his own gay agenda. A man who has become likened to some gay messiah set to part the intolerant seas. Ultimately he is not the target but yet the catalyst. My aim is at the very large flock of gay sheep that tend to fall in line like some gay army quaffed and ready to jump off the next cliff... Read more here: http://goo.gl/QNnavD
Posted by alanmotley http://www.eatmygaychicken.com on July 26, 2013 at 11:45 AM · Report this
alanmotley 106
Let me start by saying I don’t dislike Dan Savage. In fact I have followed him over the years and can respect a man that tirelessly works to uplift his own gay agenda. A man who has become likened to some gay messiah set to part the intolerant seas. Ultimately he is not the target but yet the catalyst. My aim is at the very large flock of gay sheep that tend to fall in line like some gay army quaffed and ready to jump off the next cliff... Read more here: http://goo.gl/QNnavD
Posted by alanmotley http://www.eatmygaychicken.com on July 26, 2013 at 11:46 AM · Report this
107
I keep seeing this claim that people can now be detained simply for being gay, hand-holding, etc but every single article links back to this one which makes no mention of such a clause.

http://english.ruvr.ru/news/2013_06_30/R…

This one does allude to such a clause but it is the only one I've ever found and is the one being sourced.

http://skift.com/2013/07/03/a-warning-to…

From everything I've read and seen, especially debates they've had on Russian TV, this was never brought up, even by pro LGBT activists whose views were showcased. I have a feeling they would be the first to bring this up. Until I see the transcript of the law, which is difficult to find, there is no reason to believe such a clause exists. The law is vague enough to probably allow for detention of activists (who are planning public displays that are banned under the law) but no reason to think it goes further as it stands now.
Posted by maxinspace on July 26, 2013 at 11:48 AM · Report this
108
Monopolowa.
Posted by pioneer on July 26, 2013 at 1:47 PM · Report this
109
This is one of the dumbest boycotts I have ever heard of and people only willing to do it because it is easy as there are a hundred other brands to choose from and no one can tell the difference anyway. This change NOTHING except maybe hurt some working class citizens in other countries.

Russia exports a lot more oil than vodka - but god forbid we ever stop driving our cars!
Posted by jack chandelier on July 26, 2013 at 2:02 PM · Report this
110
Boycott Kraft Russian Dressing!

Of course not. That's asinine. Makes about as much sense as Congress putting Freedom Fries on their lunch menu. People are upset about the situation in Russia (legitimately) but doing something irrational and unproductive won't help. It now appears that a Stoli Boycott will do more to hurt LGBT communities than make any changes in Russian public and political opinions. And for the record, I don't approve boycotting the Sochi Olympics either.

But what would have an effect is to contact NBC and our elected representatives and demand they pressure Putin's Government to protect their LGBT citizens. Or how about demanding Donald Trump pull his Miss Universe Pageant from Moscow? Sadly, that's probably too much work for many folks - much easier to switch vodkas and forget about it :(

http://www.advocate.com/politics/2013/07…
Posted by DrSBaumanSF on July 26, 2013 at 2:49 PM · Report this
111
I'm still boycotting you because of your rah-rah support for the Iraq war, which support you only kind of once sheepishly regretted on Twitter. Six or seven figures (take your pick) of human death.
Posted by ytregaws on July 26, 2013 at 2:52 PM · Report this
112
Go fuck yourself you pervert!
Posted by djhartm on July 26, 2013 at 8:18 PM · Report this
113
Stoli actually spoke out against the persecution. I mean, really - boycotting them won't impress ANYONE in Russia - their main exports are oil and gas, fololowed by several metals or something. This is short thinking, really - "Russia - hm - thier economy runs on Vodka, right? That's gotta impress them if we boycott their vodka!" Duh--- this is not helping anyone, at all, but merely helping people in the US to feel better about themselves, nothing else.
Posted by Dissapointed on July 27, 2013 at 3:46 AM · Report this
114
Dan, I'm not gay but am going to stop drinking Vodka to support my gay friends and family!
Posted by Tin Ty on July 27, 2013 at 7:38 AM · Report this
Buttercup 115
@42
You're confusing "tortious" with "tortuous." Just because the Latin root of the word "tort" (giving us "tortious") is the same as "torture" (giving us "tortuous") doesn't mean Venomlash is committing a civil offense by pointing out that you're a moronic fucking blowhard, SROTU. It's not defamatory or libelous, either-- because truth is an absolute defense. The "fucking" part is hyperbole, obviously: no reasonable person would believe that you ever get laid. Anyway, please shut the fuck up forever, thanks.


Posted by Buttercup on July 27, 2013 at 1:46 PM · Report this
116
Dan, I love ya, but this boycott is a bad idea. Thoughts from the Coachella Valley Independent on why it is: http://www.cvindependent.com/index.php/e…
Posted by jboegle@tucsonweekly.com on July 27, 2013 at 2:57 PM · Report this
Kenover 117
Stolichnaya Vodka is owned by SPI (Soyuzplodimport) Group, which is controlled by Yuri Scheffler, a Russian oligarch who sails around the world in a $300 million yacht and is one of the 100 richest men in Russia. If you think he doesn't have any influence with Vladimir Putin, you don't know how the world works. The company is incorporated in Luxembourg for tax reasons and the vodka is distilled in Latvia from Russian ingredients imported from farms in Russia that SPI Group owns. If that's not a Russian company then Honda and Sony are not a Japanese companies.

Go ask Coors Beer and the Coors family whether boycotts work or not. For those who don’t remember, the Coors family supported right-wing, homophobic organizations and causes like the Heritage Institute and the American Enterprise Institute, which is their right, but they also tried to bust the brewery workers union and unfairly fired gay and lesbian employees in 1977 — setting off a decade-long boycott of Coors beer in the gay community. After a bitter fight and a change in management, Coors encouraged gay and lesbian workers to organize and in May 1995 Coors became the 21st publicly traded US corporation to extend employee benefits to same-sex partners — long before most other companies. Don’t let anyone tell you boycotts don’t work; they do! More importantly, they bring public scrutiny and condemnation upon the wrongdoers. Business is about making money and, as has been noted many times before, money talks.

SPI Group understands the power of boycotts all too well, which is why they've mounted a major PR campaign to protect their LGBT market share. Suddenly the Stoli website has gone rainbow gay and PR flacks are shouting out the company's support for LGBT rights. And they're buying positive press at media outlets like Queerty by "sponsoring" events that pour cash into their coffers. They should take this money and donate to underfunded Russian LGBT organizations that are under siege and mount a media campaign against the oppression of gays and lesbians in Russia, but they don't -- because there's no profit in it for them. So they continue funding this cynical PR campaign to keep gays in the West swilling Stoli -- a mediocre vodka at best.

I salute all the gay bars who have stopped serving Stoli. But it's not just this company. All LGBT people of conscience should BOYCOTT ALL RUSSIAN PRODUCTS AND THE 2014 SOCHI OLYMPICS. Hit them where it hurts...in the wallet and the court of public opinion. Putin is a vain little dictator who cares about this image in the world. Actions must have consequences. Make Putin, the Duma, and the Russian Orthodox Church pay for this anti-gay pogrom!
More...
Posted by Kenover on July 27, 2013 at 6:11 PM · Report this
118
"Yuri Scheffler...is one of the 100 richest men in Russia. If you think he doesn't have any influence with Vladimir Putin, you don't know how the world works. "

You're a fucking moron. Shefler hasn't been in Russia for a decade because he's a fugitive from the Russian justice system because Putin wants to throw him in jail. Not only are you completely wrong on the facts, your condescending tone makes you look like the double the asshole you already are.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/con…
Posted by Usual comments loser on July 27, 2013 at 8:21 PM · Report this
119
Digital Sky Technologies(under Mail.ru Group), a Russian internet holding company, owns 5.4% of Facbeook making it the 3rd largest owner of the company. They also hold significant shares in Groupon and Zynga. Yuri Milner, founder of SKT, was named on Fortune magazine's list of the world's fifty most prominent business people in 2010 (the only Russian). This does not include the co-owner of Mail.ru Group, Alisher Usmanov, who is the richest Russian and 39th richest person in the world. I'm pretty sure their BILLIONS have more influence and does more for the Russian economy than the MILLIONS coming from Stoli. Why is no one calling on them to help force change in Russia or would it be too much for you to boycott Facebook?
Posted by Salvador on July 28, 2013 at 7:15 AM · Report this
120
Wanting to do something about the situation in Russia is a good thing. Wanting to LOOK like you're doing something about the situation in Russia is just another way of being a media whore (I'm looking at you Dan Savage). I have no idea what we can do as Americans to change this situation, but I'm pretty such putting Stoli out of business (which this boycott won't even come close to doing) won't do a damn thing.

I'm not going to tell anyone that they should or shouldn't boycott anything here (I'll just get ripped by the all-powerful pro-boycott gay mafia), but I will ask you this: Do you really want the situation in Russia to change? Because if you do, jumping on a mobwagon of pouring vodka down the sewer is a pretty idiotic way to accomplish it.

Like I said, I have no idea what the answer is. So all I could think to do was send the following email (which I wrote myself -- what?!! I didn't sign on to a pre-written petition? I'm a madman) to the president, vice-president, both California senators and my congressman:

Dear [ ],

I'm writing to you because I'm not sure what as American citizens we can do to protect LGBT citizens of Russia. People are calling for boycotts of Russian Vodka and of the 2014 Winter Olympics. While those things make for good media sound bites, I feel they achieve little else.

So I'm writing to you to ask, what can our government do? Are there economic sanctions that can be put in place? Can the United Nations do anything to help?

Also, what can private citizens do? Is there anything I can do as a US citizen that can make a difference in this situation? I would like to help if I can.

Finally, thank you for your continued support of civil rights everywhere.

Sincerely,

Petr Pronsati
More...
Posted by psquared on July 28, 2013 at 12:31 PM · Report this
121
First off I love Dan Savage, but I too think the vodka boycott is just window dressing with no good results as to helping the Gay cause. I think Petr Pronsati has a better take on it, though no idea what we should actually do.
We definitely WON"T be going on a Russian River cruise like we had planned for next year. I couldn't pass for str8 if my life depended on it & it sounds like in Russia that it just might !
Posted by QueenEmpressBitchoftheUniverse on July 28, 2013 at 9:27 PM · Report this
122
First off I love Dan Savage, but I too think the vodka boycott is just window dressing with no good results as to helping the Gay cause. I think Petr Pronsati has a better take on it, though no idea what we should actually do.
We definitely WON"T be going on a Russian River cruise like we had planned for next year. I couldn't pass for str8 if my life depended on it & it sounds like in Russia that it just might !
Posted by QueenEmpressBitchoftheUniverse on July 28, 2013 at 9:30 PM · Report this
123
Did anyone ever bother to learn about the new anti-gay propaganda law? It is very easy to blah-blah here. The law says you can't teach children sodomy. That is all. If you are an adult, you can do whatever you want with whoever you want. In practice it means you can't come to school, children's library, kindergarden and tell the children that the sodomy way of life is "normal".
So, all the Russians say is "don't touch the children!". Does anyone disagree???
Posted by Zaichushka on July 29, 2013 at 10:37 AM · Report this
124
An article from the San Francisco Examiner: http://m.sfexaminer.com/sanfrancisco/gay…

I'm all for protesting and doing something to let Putin know his actions won't be tolerated by the LGBT community. Hell, I think we should cancel the Olympics this year. Just don't want to hurt companies that have supported us in the past. Not fair for them that their government is making bad policies.
Posted by ArtistGuy79 on July 30, 2013 at 7:58 AM · Report this
125
Austin, TX bars Rain & Castro's have stopped serving Stoli.
Posted by Loydb on July 30, 2013 at 11:07 PM · Report this
126
You should drink Swedish vodka, like Absolut! This week is Gay Pride week in Stockholm, and all the city's buses are Sporting the Rainbow Flag, its up outside the Royal Theatre and at our largets department store (NK) among lots and lots of other places. Also our Secretary of State, Carl Bildt, harshly critizised Russia on his official Twitteraccount. Sweden is super gay-friendly :)
Posted by King Pin on July 31, 2013 at 6:30 AM · Report this
127
I just hope who ever started this "boycott" researched the companies they are placing in jeopardy for the following reasons:

Private citizens own these products and produce them using ordinary citizens. The Stoli company is not based in Russia and supports gay non-profits and events.

Gay and lesbians work for these companies as well distribute this product around the world.

Putting people out of work for the sake of making a (emotionally rushed) statement is asinine.

The Russian (and Soviet Government before them) has been repressive since 1917. I don't know how you punish a government for stupidity and for hate, but Im all for finding out a way to do it!
Posted by JerryT on July 31, 2013 at 7:33 AM · Report this
128
Is Mr. Savage, for calling for a ban on Stoli vodka which is made in the European Union by a company owned by an ex-Russian (who is wanted by the Russian authorities who have issed an arrest warrant) and based in the European Union, suggesting that gay rights in the European Union leaves a lot to be desired? Come on, get real! There are 28 states in the European Union and the vast majority of them have more gay rights than any of the 50 states of the USA. Also, in the European Union there are far stricter regulations on product labelling and Stoli cannot be labelled here as 'Russian Vodka' as it is not vodka made in Russia. Perhaps we Europeans should start a boycott of Apple products as iPhones, iPads etc are not American, but made in communist China, which doesn't exactly have a good human rights record. And where was Mr. Savage when Russian gay activists were calling on activists across the world way back in 2006 and 2007 to pressure the International Olympics Committee not to award the 2014 Winter Olympics to Sochi? Now there is an American gay-led campaign for countries to boycott the Winter Games next year! Frankly, it's all 'humbug' coming from America. Europeans like Peter Tatchell from London and Louis-Georges Tin from Paris have been campaigning for years on behalf of Russian gay rights. Now enter the US Gay Cavalry ... Frankly, it's all 'humbug' coming from America.
Posted by MarkW on July 31, 2013 at 7:59 AM · Report this
129
Is Mr. Savage, for calling for a ban on Stoli vodka which is made in the European Union by a company owned by an ex-Russian (who is wanted by the Russian authorities who have issued an arrest warrant for him) and based in the European Union, suggesting that gay rights in the European Union leaves a lot to be desired? Come on, get real! There are 28 states in the European Union and the vast majority of them have more gay rights than any of the 50 states of the USA. Also, in the European Union there are far stricter regulations on product labelling and Stoli cannot be labelled here as 'Russian Vodka' as it is not vodka made in Russia. Perhaps we Europeans should start a boycott of Apple products as iPhones, iPads etc are not American, but made in communist China, which doesn't exactly have a good human rights record. And where was Mr. Savage when Russian gay activists were calling on activists across the world way back in 2006 and 2007 to pressure the International Olympics Committee not to award the 2014 Winter Olympics to Sochi? Now there is an American gay-led campaign for countries to boycott the Winter Games next year! Europeans like Peter Tatchell from London and Louis-Georges Tin from Paris (to name just two) have been campaigning for years on behalf of Russian gay rights. Now enter the US Gay Cavalry who have failed to actually contact the leading gay activists in Moscow and St Petersburg to see what they thing we should do ... Frankly, it's all 'humbug' coming from America.
Posted by MarkW on July 31, 2013 at 8:10 AM · Report this
130
There's been a question about how Russian is Stoli - CEO of the company that owns the iconic “Stoli” brand insisted that his company is “not a Russian company,” even as he confirmed that the company operates a distillery in Russia, that “several hundred” of its 2,500 employees are in Russia and that it obtains its ingredients from Russia.

Boycott Stoli - Simples...
Posted by Antony Masters on July 31, 2013 at 1:10 PM · Report this
131
I came back to this blog so suggest something else that might help this boycott, as I have been a Russia watcher on this subject for quite sometime. After discussing this on other forums some of us remembered something, and the word is spreading, want to share it here.

There is something else for the gay community to consider, BAN RUSSIA TODAY NEWS.
Or RT as they now call it because of being called out for not being about Russia but putting out hyperbole, white lies on anything Western. Putin spends millions on this Russian propagana machine. RT is Putins KGB press and a precious invention by the Kremlin to diffuse Russias problems by calling out the Wests problems.

Westerners already know the problems their countries face, do Westerners really need a fake caring Russian taking advantage of Westerners issues to appeal to a liberal audience when Russias "conservative" laws ignore human rights? RT has no interest in helping anyone Western, their agenda is for Russia. If you watch RT still you are supporting the violence in the pictures shown of the beatings . You are supporting the sick men who set up suspecting gays and lured them to their homes and beat them.

Another thing to consider is Ketchum
Ketchum acquires Moscow-based Maslow PR

NEW YORK and MOSCOW – Ketchum, a leading global marketing and corporate communication consultancy, has taken a majority position in Maslov PR, the Moscow-based, full-service Russian public relations company. The firm, to be called Ketchum Maslov, will be led by Michael Maslov, managing director and founder of Maslov PR, and Serguey Chumin, his business partner of several years.

Older article but to give you an idea

http://www.theguardian.com/media/2009/au…

PR groups cash in on Russian conflict
Russia, South Ossetia and Abkhazia are using public relations firms to influence the western media, writes David Teather

a snipet

" In conflicts gone by, it might have been called propaganda, but it is now carefully co-ordinated public relations, devised by agencies in London, Washington and Brussels. Russia hired Ketchum three years ago, to work on burnishing its image ahead of its chairing of the G8 in St Petersburg, and it has continued to use the New York-based PR agency ever since. The hiring of the company, thought to be the first time Moscow had engaged a western PR firm, was seen by many as a sign of Russia's changing relationship with the west.

Ketchum has around 50 people working on the account in the G8 countries, and uses its fellow Omnicom agency GPlus in Brussels. In London, GPlus subcontracts to Portland, which is run by Tim Allan, the former No 10 spin doctor, and the BBC's former Moscow correspondent Angus Roxburgh,"

http://www.propublica.org/article/from-r…

From Russia With PR

Several opinion columns praising Russia and published in the last two years on CNBC’s web site and the Huffington Post were written by seemingly independent professionals but were placed on behalf of the Russian government by its public-relations firm, Ketchum.

The columns, written by two businessmen, a lawyer, and an academic, heap praise on the Russian government for its “ambitious modernization strategy” and “enforcement of laws designed to better protect business and reduce corruption.” One of the CNBC opinion pieces, authored by an executive at a Moscow-based investment bank, concludes that “Russia may well be the most dynamic place on the continent.”

There’s nothing unusual about Ketchum’s work on behalf of Russia. Public relations firms constantly peddle op-eds on behalf of politicians, corporations, and governments. Rarely if ever do publications disclose the role of a PR firm in placing an op-ed, so it’s unusual to get a glimpse behind the scenes and see how an op-ed was generated.

What readers of the CNBC and Huffington Post pieces did not know — but Justice Department foreign agent registration filings by Ketchum show — is that the columns were placed by the public-relations firm working on a contract with the Russian government to, among other things, promote the country “as a place favorable for foreign investments.”

So, there is more than just Vodka to hit, if any one really wants to make a stand, go after Ketchum, any news outlets that use this PR. Though the Huffington Post has done good reporting on what is going on in Russia as they have worked with Russia and Ketchum.

There is more than Russian booze to make a dent in. We can do it.
More...
Posted by another thing on July 31, 2013 at 1:19 PM · Report this
132
excuse typo,
BOYCOTT RUSSIA TODAY news not ban
Posted by another thing on July 31, 2013 at 1:24 PM · Report this
133
Wow, zero research done. Stoli made for export is from a Luxembourg company (and made in Latvia!) and besides, vodka companies have no pull in Putin's government.

You may as well boycott Sex in the City reruns for employing Mikhail Baryshnikov, it will have the same effect.
Posted by DonSNY on August 1, 2013 at 4:27 PM · Report this
134
As a Gay, What the F*** Savage! YOU WASTED EVERYONE'S MONEY! YOU WANT THEM TO WASTE VODKA! WHAT ARE YOU THINKING
Posted by Frankelansburg on August 2, 2013 at 10:00 AM · Report this
135
Stoli says it is Latvian product but in actual fact the parent company is spi which produces mostly Russian products and boasts a big new head office in Moscow.. see the website
www.spi-group.com In addition to Russian exports such as vodka I think that any company that gets profit from Russia should also be boycotted so any company that maintains a head office in Russia should also be targeted, even if it is north American based.. they are doing business there and making money so they should also be targeted to enforce north American values on the society. Russia is no longer communist and has to play in the real world of commerce, and in commerce they have to get used to the fact that they cannot do as they please.. In addition we should also be boycotting all other nations that do not give human rights to gays and there are lots of them and for some reason we are currently focusing on Russia but this should extend to any country that persecutes gay people
Posted by retlawv on August 2, 2013 at 11:15 PM · Report this
136
Attempting to protest Russian policy on LGBT rights by banning Latvian products is like trying to protest the Obama administration's treatment of whistleblowers like Manning and Snowden, by banning Canadian beer.
Posted by dainiswmichel on August 3, 2013 at 9:32 AM · Report this
137
Stoli isn't russian!
Posted by Paddy McDaddy on August 4, 2013 at 3:14 PM · Report this
138
Savage, you are an idiot! That vodka came from Latvia!
Posted by Franklansburg on August 6, 2013 at 10:40 PM · Report this
139
Hi!
I am Ramsingh from Canada, I was in Delhi for some business work and I feel alone in night, then I search on internet about the escort in Delhi and I found Mahi Arora Independent escort in Delhi . Their Service unforgatable and awesome.
Posted by Ram singh on August 7, 2013 at 3:52 AM · Report this
140
Hi!
I am Ramsingh from Canada, I was in Delhi for some business work and I feel alone in night, then I search on internet about the escort in Delhi and I found Mahi Arora Independent escort in Delhi . Their Service unforgatable and awesome.
Posted by Ram singh on August 7, 2013 at 3:54 AM · Report this
141
A Russian television channel accidentally interrupted its evening news show with a doom-laden report of evils committed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, apparently slipped on air by a disgruntled employee. The female newsreader on the Eastern Express channel, based in the Urals city of Chelyabinsk, read an upbeat item about new medical equipment in regional hospitals, only for her broadcast to be interrupted by an item saying that "the epoch of Putin... brought Russia criticism from every international rights organisation."The broadcast was on July 31 but the story only caught national attention this week after a video was posted on YouTube.

The clip was put on air by a director at the channel who had quarrelled with the management, reported regional news website Znak.com, citing sources. The channel had previously aired glowing footage of pig farming and regional governor Mikhail Yurevich, a member of ruling party United Russia, making clear its pro-Kremlin loyalties. It would be unthinkable for Russian state television to air a report critical of Putin.

The planted news item went on to link Putin to the 2006 murder of journalist and Kremlin critic Anna Politkovskaya and attack corruption that had reached "unimaginable heights". It launched into the terrorist attacks at the beginning of Putin's presidency, saying they raised his approval rating, before the channel abruptly switched back to footage of the governor, with no explanation.

The broadcast material came from a Russian-language channel, TV PIK, based in Georgia, which fought a brief war with Russia in 2008, according to Gruzia Online news website. The head of Eastern Express channel, Valery Shagiyev, headed a regional supporters' group for Vladimir Putin during his 2012 election campaign. Shagiyev called the stunt an "act of hooliganism" in comments to regional news site Uralpolit.ru, saying the director responsible would be sacked.
More...
Posted by Iforgetmanee on August 7, 2013 at 9:26 AM · Report this
142
Daniel Sandford ‏@BBCDanielS 8h
Russia giving away tickets to the World Athletic Championships otherwise not enough people will come (RUSSIAN)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/russian/sport/2013/… …
Posted by More interesting news on August 7, 2013 at 10:30 AM · Report this
143
Stoli isn't a Russian company. If you are going to protest, do your research and target appropriate companies. Stoli is a big supporter of the LGBT community - http://www.stoli.com/downloads/LGBT_Comm… - and your "dump Stoli" campaign is a misdirected waste of energy.
Posted by Don't Dump Stoli on August 7, 2013 at 5:37 PM · Report this
144
Holy god. Did apple talk out about the new laws? Are we going to boycott apple?
Do your research. Stoli as a company is at war with the Russian government and have been for some time.
If you read into it properly you will discovered it was once Soviet not Russian (made in soviet union in Latvia) and after it was bought (disputed) by Yuri who lives in London, they have since been in some serious arguments that Russia actually changed its laws stating any vodka not produced and bottled in russia can no longer call itself a Russian vodka. (This brand has been banned in Russia) in fact by boycotting this brand you are doing the Russian government a favour (trust me, I work in the alcohol industry and they will thank you for this silly unresearched choice)

Go find an actual Russian brand and boycott that
Posted by Fiach on August 7, 2013 at 9:58 PM · Report this
145
Actually, the brand is traded by SPI group and they came into existence via PEPSI to distribute LATVIAN made vodka under the stoli name. Also, Stolichnaya vodka has always supported the gay community here in Amsterdam with sponsoring of partys, supplying free drinks at the gay pride etc etc... Even their own site has a firm statement claiming they support the LGBT community and strongly oppose the russian government.
By doing that they are guilty of propaganda under those new laws and should have been arrested. Why that didn't happen? BECAUSE THEY'RE NOT IN RUSSIA.
Please stop your silly boycott and direct your combined forces somewhere else.
Drinking STOLI is the new activism, Nasdrovje!
Posted by DoctorZorro on August 8, 2013 at 2:07 AM · Report this
146
Who the fuck cares about boycotting vodka? It will only affect about 0.00001% of Russia's GDP

Hit them where it hurts: Gazprom...

Who needs Russian gas when we have about 2,000 years of reserves in shale gas here in the UK and there in Europe?

And with new propane technologies replacing dangerous fracking, who the fuck needs macho Putin?

NO ONE!
Posted by harryposter on August 9, 2013 at 5:48 PM · Report this
147
Who the fuck cares about boycotting vodka? It will only affect about 0.00001% of Russia's GDP

Hit them where it hurts: Gazprom...

Who needs Russian gas when we have about 2,000 years of reserves in shale gas here in the UK and there in Europe?

And with new propane technologies replacing dangerous fracking, who the fuck needs macho Putin?

NO ONE!
Posted by harryposter on August 9, 2013 at 5:52 PM · Report this
148
Why are all the queers so up set ? Russia has more morals than North America
Is it good for two male Cock suckers to adopt a little boy ? You idiots who think it is should be locked up with the queers. in a civilized world do you think Lesbians and homo's are normal they want to run the world adopt and turn innocent children into their
way of life .
Your all sick , mentally ill and should be locked up .
Soon you and all your supporters will be destroyed again remember Sodom ?
THANK YOU RUSSIA FOR STANDING FIRM ON YOUR MORALS , I will buy Russian vodka now
Posted by ERNEST52 on August 11, 2013 at 12:06 PM · Report this
149
Thank God Russia has greater morals then cowardly North America .
Locking up these sick demented queers is a blessing to humans .
Do you want those sick , mental queers adopting little boys and girls and turning the Childs life in to their sick way of life to men sucking each others penis and fucking each other in the ass ! what will happen to the children they adopt ?
Two women eating each others vagina and fucking each other in the vagina and ass with a big piece of plastic , what will happen to children they adopt ?
Thank God one country in the world is standing up for rights of the children and you idiots are protesting this Sodom will come upon you quickly . As for me I will now buy Russian vodka , thank you Putin
Posted by ERNEST52 on August 11, 2013 at 12:27 PM · Report this
150
As for me I am going right now to buy Russian vodka finally a country standing up to sick ,mental queers .
They are far from gay they are not happy but tormented .
Thank you Russia for protecting the children from the queers !!!
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness (remember Sodom)
God gave them up to dishonorable passions . women exchanged natural relations for unnatural. Men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another , men committing shameless acts with men and, God gave them up to doing everything their evil minds could think of their penalty is death by fire.
Posted by ERNEST52 on August 11, 2013 at 12:54 PM · Report this
151
I don't think the current situation is about gay sex. I actually don't believe Putin has very strong feelings about gays at all... it has never come up before in his personal comments.

Putin is just looking for a scapegoat. Just like any dictator before him (Stalin and the Siberians, Hitler and the Jews, etc etc) he knows he has to have some identifiable minority to blame. Russia is not doing so well socially or economically and people need to vent their anger on something else, or they'll turn on the Government. Very inconvenient for a dictator.

Putin is a master strategist - probably THE most wily politician on the planet. He is ex-KGB and to climb the ranks of KGB - and then Government - in Russia, you must be incredibly clever and extremely manipulative. Russian Government is probably THE biggest dog-eat-dog system in the world. Your strategies must be perfect and no mistakes, ever. And Putin has excelled at this, moreso than any other Russian politician ever.

He is VERY smart. And he makes no false moves. This anti-gay thing was not done on a whim. He knows it wouldn't be popular internationally. He hasn't done this off-the-cuff. It is VERY carefully planned and executed, and even now Putin is probably 3 steps ahead of all of us.

So... Putin knows he needs a scapegoat. It's news to nobody that it'd be quite useful to him. Nothing consolidates people like a common enemy... this is a well-established truth. Leaders enjoy their best popularity in times of war. Most leaders use this to their advantage - "tough on crime" or "War On Drugs" or terrorism are the popular recent ones in North America, for example.

So... who's to be the scapegoat?

Racial hatred is less of an easy pull these days (even the Ukraine/Russia thing doesn't get people's blood running hot) - however, gays are a perfect target. The Russian Orthodox church already has strong control of the people, a large power base in the Government, and a right-wing dislike of homosexuals. Strategically, it's a perfect choice. Putin knows what he's doing.

This has nothing to do with the general population of Russia. It is not the fault of vodka makers, or the average Joe, or the tycoons. It is the Government using the Church to find an outlet for people's discontent. The people are pawns and the gays are targets.

And it is also for this reason that no matter what protests are launched, nothing will be done about this situation. Putin has NEVER backed down in the face of international pressure, and this issue is really nothing compared to Libya, spying, murders of people (remember the radioactive killing in London?) and Snowdon. He could care less about people's outrage about 3% of his population that 84% of his public dislike anyway. And it's important to his own political career that he keeps that hatred whipped up.

And the thing about Putin is: the more you push, the more he sticks to his guns. If you turn this into a big thing, a challenge, it now becomes a big weakness if he backtracks. In Russian politics, that could be lethal (literally!). By creating an outcry, the gays have pretty much guaranteed by now that Putin will never, ever change his mind.

So the best activism here is not to fly rainbow flags and cry "out loud and proud" but to fund Amnesty International, arrange safe houses and refugee status for gays fleeing Russia, pressure governments, NATO and the UN for sanctions, and so on. It needs to be very solid, very practical action.

I did a check of the vodka products sold here in Quebec, Canada. All alcohol sales here are run by the Government authority, the SAQ, so it's easy to track. Of the 114 products allowed, 113 of them are NOT RUSSIAN. Only Russian Standard vodka is Russian, and it's not available in most of the stores. So basically Dan, you're inciting people to boycott vodka which is almost always made in countries which have nothing to do with Russia... and can even be from gay-friendly countries! Talk about shooting yourself in the foot, Dan!

And let's consider what you're doing by boycotting Stolichnaya. You have just boycotted the ONLY alcohol producer in the area who dares to say anything positive about gays. Again: shooting yourself in the foot!

I don't know about you but if I was a vodka company employee and I lost my job due to a boycott... well, if I didn't hate gays before, then I sure would now! Once again: shooting yourself in the foot, Dan...

Meanwhile, the impact to Putin is zero because we're talking about a fraction of the 3% of gays boycotting... what's that mean in general terms, Dan? A fraction of a 3% reduction in gross sales to a single company? Ooh, you're sure hitting him where it hurts... NOT!

But I tell you what you ARE giving Putin. You're serving him a perfect opportunity to use this against you. He can now use this (and the Olympic boycott) as an example of how gays are evil and detrimental to the economy and Russian pride. Putin is a master spin-doctor... don't think he hasn't thought of this! He's probably belly-laughing all day at how wonderfully you're playing right into his hands.

In conclusion: instead of picketing the actual CAUSE of the problem - the Russian Orthodox church and the Government - you're getting gays to go after innocent bystanders, and convincing them that they're doing something positive when they're doing NOTHING, or even making the situation WORSE!

Dan, you're so out of touch here... it's sad. You have clearly done ZERO research into this issue before you jumped on a knee-jerk revenge bandwagon... and far from helping, you are actually hurting gay rights in Russia.

You have, singlehandedly:

- ensured that Putin will never change his mind
- hurt the only company that was even close to gay-friendly
- encouraged gays to boycott things that aren't even Russian, thus hurting gay-neutral or gay-friendly companies
- given Putin powerful weapons to stir up anti-gay sentiment

With friends like you... who needs enemies? Jesus.
More...
Posted by Ty Frost on August 12, 2013 at 9:12 PM · Report this
152
Putin is saving children from being adopted from you perverts , by not allowing single men women , queers is saving what dignity the children have .
Imagine the abuse the children would receive sat the hands of two cock suckers and a little girl at the hands of two female vagina lickers and what torture from those women would cause with their plastic , rubber cocks on these little girl\s thank you Putin for saving the children , Shame on North America for allowing those demented rainbow creatures to adopt and abuse innocent children .
STOP CANADA FROM BRINGING QUEERS INTO OUR COUNTRY AND BUYING THEM FURNITURE AND RENTING THEM APARTMENT\S AND GIVING THEM TAX PAYERS MONEY , LETTING THEM RUN FREE TO DO AS THEY WILL IN A GOOD COUNTRY BEWARE THEY ARE COMING FOR YOUR CHILDREN AND WITH TAX PAYERS MONEY
Posted by ERNEST52 on August 13, 2013 at 8:23 AM · Report this
153
"Why I'm Boycotting Russian Vodka"
Because you're an intolerant heterophobic bigot hypocrite who prefers to drink piss anyway!
Posted by TheFudgeReport on August 13, 2013 at 12:15 PM · Report this
154
Your anger is your torment knowing your abomination is satanic , your evil way of life will not remove your GUILT , OR YOUR TORMENT "
Thank you Putin continue the good work set the Children free.
How do you think now you Queer hypocrite
Posted by ERNEST52 on August 14, 2013 at 8:25 AM · Report this
155
For those of us honoring the boycott, can someone recommend a quality vodka to switch to?
Posted by Wondering on August 15, 2013 at 7:18 AM · Report this
156
Have you not read other comments those boycotting those company is not affecting the Russian government only making you Queers look more stupid.
Posted by ERNEST52 on August 15, 2013 at 10:15 AM · Report this
157
Being Queer is a choice , no one was ever born Queer ! You choose your faggot life .
God would never have created you that way , remember after Sodom God let you go your own way to do what you choose to do .
Posted by ERNEST52 on August 16, 2013 at 7:22 AM · Report this
158
Let us keep in the forefront of our minds that real people in the LGBT community are being brutalized by their countrymen with the support of their government in Russia and around the world. The latest anti-LGBT laws in Russia reflect the views of 2/3 of the Russian people, not just Mr. Putin and his party. This is a huge human rights issue that needs serious people to address it in a meaningful way. We should not forget that DOMA was only recently struck down, leaving us with no moral high ground to stand on.

The Olympics will take place in Sochi. They are not going to move it no matter how wrong the Russian laws are nor how much pressure the IOC receives. Planning demonstrations should be the focus of the energy of LGBT activists, not boycotts of the games. Most of us will not be travelling to Sochi, so we should be planning demonstrations wherever we are.

Mr. Savage is wrong about the ownership of Stoli, as has already been pointed out. I support symbolic gestures such as boycotts when they make sense. Boycotting non-Russian vodka (with Russian sounding names) makes the boycotters look ignorant and has the real potential to hurt our allies and innocent bystanders. As others have pointed out there are other Russian exports that would make sense to boycott, such as oil.

Sending a united message to ALL countries that condone the abuse of human rights is our moral responsibility. Boycotting the wrong product is not just slacktivism; it is misguided and potentially dangerous as it may result in more brutality.

What is the end goal here, getting on YouTube for dumping Stoli in the street or actually working to prevent violence of our brothers and sisters?

I'm relieved that I'm not the only one who feels this way. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/21/opinio…
More...
Posted by JRS on August 21, 2013 at 8:21 AM · Report this
159
Okay this...this is not okay. First of all have you even done your research? Because if you have you'd know that Stoli is a firm believer of LGBT rights. In 2006 they funded a tv show on LOGO called Be Real: Stories from Queer America, and currently have two exclusive national partnerships with Gaycities.com and Queerty.com to find the Most Original Stoli Guy. They support the Durban Gay Pride initiative in South Africa, the Pride Parade in Vienna. They are in cooperation with HOSA and CT which are the two biggest LGBT communities in Australia and were part of the Tel Aviv Pride Parade. Further more the Russian government does not own any part of Stoli...it's privately owned by the SPI group which headquarters are in Luxemburg! They get their ingredients and they process it in Russia that is true but the only thing you're doing if you boycott Stoli is putting those people, who's rights are already getting taken away, into unemployment. So next time you go to boycott something...make sure it's for a good reason.
Posted by Kaalee83 on August 27, 2013 at 7:43 AM · Report this
160
I hope all the institutions that decades ago put up billboards advocating 'Freedom For Soviet Jewry' would find it in their heart to put up billboards advocating 'Freedom For Russian Homosexuals' Oppression continues... only the oppressed have changed.
Posted by Rawkcuf on August 27, 2013 at 11:05 PM · Report this
161
A distinction should be drawn between the actions of a cruel and corrupt government and the cultural sensibilities of an entire ethnic group. Your message, "Fuck Russia,", is not helpful to the many Russians, both straight and gay, who are suffering under this tyrannical and often sociopathic regime. Rather, it is damaging. It is a direct attack on Russian culture and Russians themselves both domestic and abroad.

In effect, you have responded to hatred and bigotry with an equal share of hatred and bigotry.
Posted by FA on September 4, 2013 at 11:00 AM · Report this
162
@42, @115 and all others interested:
Tortuous means full of twists and turns.
Torturous (note the second ‘r’) refers to pain or suffering.
Tortious: conduct that exposes one to civil liability under tort law.
Posted by obillo on September 8, 2013 at 6:35 AM · Report this
163
Thank Heaven Russia is protecting children! Lukily Russia is trying to prevent a war in Syria!
Posted by Slimywall on September 10, 2013 at 9:36 AM · Report this
164
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Posted by miss miriam on October 16, 2013 at 5:18 AM · Report this
165
Stolichnaya vodka has come out in STRONG support of Russia's LGBT community. So boycotting Stoli is WRONG! Time to think, people!!!
Posted by tien on October 18, 2013 at 2:48 PM · Report this
166
It's true. Russian vodka is not for faggots.
Posted by Johny322 on January 18, 2014 at 10:34 AM · Report this
167
I'm boycotting Dan Savage
Posted by Frank_D on February 5, 2014 at 8:08 AM · Report this
168
You're a knuckledragging yankee shithead scum.

You live in the country that runs the GITMO GULAG - and you want to lecture others on human rights, you SACK OF SCUM????????????

BURN IN HELL!! FUCK YOUR TROOPS! FUCK YOUR WAR!! FUCK YOUR WMD!!! FUCK YOUR PRESIDENT BOJANGLES!!! FUCK YOUR STINKING UNITED STATES TO HELL!!!!!!!!!!
Posted by You are neonazi yankee scum on May 19, 2014 at 2:28 AM · Report this
169
I created a petition at ipetition to boycott Russia. I need you to tell other bloggers to promote it. I need at least 1,000 signatures
Posted by Eddie Vedder on August 17, 2014 at 8:00 PM · Report this
reanim888 170
Thanks!
My best wishes from Orlando!
Posted by reanim888 http://amazondiscount.drupalgardens.com/content/amazon-discount-finder on October 19, 2014 at 8:07 AM · Report this

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