What started out as Dan Savage's pledge against consuming Russian vodka is now a movement that has gay bars all around the world, from Vancouver to London, dumping Russian vodka to show their displeasure with the country's treatment of gay people—even in the face of one of Russia's prominent LGBT activists saying the whole thing is pointless.
When we last we checked in with Savage's plea for gay people to stop drinking Russian vodka to protest the Kremlin's aggressive anti-gay laws, a couple of gay bars in Chicago had joined in the boycott. Since then, more and more bars around the world have joined in: London's world-famous Heaven nightclub, along with several others venues in the British capital, aren't serving Russian booze; a bevy of Vancouver bars have followed suit, as have venues in Sydney, West Hollywood, New York City and San Francisco.
The ban is part of a growing movement to check Russia's increasingly homophobic political milieu. In a sharply-worded editorial over the weekend title "Mr. Putin's War on Gays," The New Times editorial board wrote:
For some time, antigay sentiment has been spreading in Russia’s conservative society, encouraged by the Kremlin and the Russian Orthodox Church. But Mr. Putin and his government have taken that to a new level by legitimizing the hatemongering in legislation.
Clearly, there's momentum behind this push. But there's still a question of how much the boycott itself is doing to force Vladimir Putin's repressive hand. As I mentioned on Thursday, it's hard to imagine that gay bars boycotting vodka will result in enough economic pressure to change Russia's course. Nikolai Alekseev, a prominent Russian LGBT activist, counts himself among the skeptics. "To be honest, I don’t see the point in boycotting the Russian vodka," he said in an interview with Gay Star News. "It will impact anyone except the companies involved a little bit. The effect will die out very fast, it will not last forever."
Alekseev goes on to add:
And what is the aim of this boycott? The producers, even if they become bankrupt because of the boycott (which is unlikely) will not be able to influence Russian politics and President Putin as well as the decisions of the State Duma.
But the aim of the boycott is not to, say, put Stoli out of business. Nobody has such delusions. Rather, it's about bringing awareness to Russia's aggressively anti-gay measures. It's not unlike other viral movements — #stopkony, for example — meant, foremost, to raise awareness among the general population.
True, these viral movements often get branded as "slacktivism," a term that suggests people are not really doing anything to help the cause at hand. But, then again, the vodka ban is not asking for your money — only your attention to the plight of gays and, perhaps, a moment of thought about whether you want to patronize companies that might be a little too friendly with the Kremlin
Like banning Russian vodka is going to hurt Russia. I think we should nuke them.
Get it to spread to straight bars....
42 Below is a nice New Zealand vodka.
The Russians drink so much vodka themselves this should hardly put a dent in sales.
It may not be much, but every gay I know drinks vodka.
Now if straight bars go forward, then they could really feel the pinch. And if people stop buying it in the stores.
It may not be much, but every gay I know drinks vodka.
I don't. Gin, bourbon, scotch, rum, beer, wine, yes; but I don't drink vodka.
[quote]Someone on datalounge suggested it a few days before Dan.
Link please. TIA
I don't drink and I haven't gone to a gay bar, or any bar, since I met my partner 14 years ago. But, this Russian vodka boycott is a start. We have to do whatever we can-and sadly it's not much-to raise awareness about this chilling backward slide Russia is taking.
I have thought Putin was an evil man from his emergence in global politics. As long as he is in charge of Russia they will be no better than during the communist Cold War era.
What we can all do is: write, Tweet, fax, email Obama and insist that he speak out on behalf of gays and lesbians with the same passion that he did about Trayvon Martin. We must insist he defend our rights as fervently as he did for African-Americans, even I that means pulling out of the Olympics!
A ban on their fuckin Vodka should be encouraged by ALL bars around the world, not just the gay ones and I'm sure it will work. It will at least send a strong message.
[quote]We must insist he defend our rights as fervently as he did for African-Americans,
Yeah, that worked out great.
Does Russia export anything else? We should boycott whatever they sell. Unfortunately, most of our stuff comes from China. I'd gladly protest their human rights abuses, too. But I want to be able to send a clear message to Russia. Any ideas?
Can someone please make an easy list of Russian vodkas for use.
I love 360º brand. Made in the good ole USA by Missouri hicks who know their hootch.
It doesn't have to be gay bars only- go to straight bars and ask for the NON-Russian stuff.
No more Russian dressing on salad!
Many bars and nightclubs in Vegas are partly owned or run by gays. Vodka is sold in quantity. At the very least, it would spread the word on why Russian Vodka was banned.
R8: Verbatim what I was thinking. Those people have blood in their vodka stream.
Or better yet:
Grey Goose (French)
Ketel One (Dutch)
Stoli is made in the Baltics, not Russia, and according to NPR, the Company has been very supportive of gay causes.
True , If you have to drink Vodka there are so many other (and better) choices.
The Russian brands listed on wiki I've never even heard of and it says Latvia and Russia for Stoli.
Gold Symphony (Золотая симфония) \t\tRussia \t
Hrenovuha (Хреновуха) \t
Kubanskaya (Кубанская) \t\t\t
Narodnaya (Народная) \t\t\t
Putinka (Путинка) \tPutinka \t
Rodnik (Родник) \t
Ruskova (Рускова) \t\t
Russian Standard (Русский стандарт) \tRussian Standard Vodka
Shustov (Шустов) \t\t
Starka (Старка) \t\t
It's not about hurting Russia, financially or otherwise. Of course it won't!
It's a symbolic message... "We're not taking any of your shit and we're sure as hell not spending any of our money on your products."
If if cunts like Putin or any other Russian homophobe doesn't give damn, they're sure as hell going to hear the message.
And the first hint of any in the West Hollywood Russian community supporting the leader of their Fatherland in this, let me throw the first brick.
I'm having Freedom dressing on my salad.
If straight and gay bars and nightclubs worldwide would just put up signage saying that they no longer serve Russian Vodka, those that don't pay attention to the news, and there are many (especially in the younger generations, that frequent clubs,) would become informed of the situation in Russia. Hopefully they then would think twice about making a homophobic joke or comment.
I would also advise a rival vodka brand to put out an ad campaign stating that they support gay rights. It would get the word out.
Here in Vegas, many order "bottle service" at daily pool parties and nightclubs. Many are at least partly owned or managed by gays, or at least host gay DJ's and entertainers. "Bottle service," is often the only way to avoid standing, and includes a cabana or table or booth. It usually means a bottle of vodka, with mixers. Prices of $100 and up are the norm. (Yes I think that this is a rip off.)
[quote]Stoli is made in the Baltics, not Russia,
The wheat used for Stoli is grown in fields just south of Moscow. Stoli pays into Russia for that wheat. It's not free wheat.
[quote]Stoli is made in the Baltics, not Russia, and according to NPR, the Company has been very supportive of gay causes.
It makes absolutely no difference where the product is made or where it's bottled. It's a Russian company and that's where the profits go.
Maybe, R30. But it seems kinda silly to boycott Stoli if, in fact, they are supporters of the gay community. You may as well boycott oil and gas, because Russia is a huge energy exporter.
Boycotting the Winter Olympics by gays - we dominate the highest profile event ice skating - would be much more effective. It would be like boycotting the summer games if florist, hairdressing or wedding planning were events, I'm just saying.
To be effective, an economic boycott would need to achieve levels of participation comparable to the divestiture movement of the 1980s for apartheid. As one of the key emerging economies, the so-called BRICs, pressuring AMERICAN companies who provide FDI and other foreign investment capital would have much higher impact.
The United States remains Russia’s leading investor with 122 FDI projects between 2007 and 2011 (16% of the total).
However, eight of the top 10 FDI source countries are from Europe. Over the past five years, European countries originated 343 FDI projects, 44% of the total in Russia.
Stoli has seemingly been supportive of gays for a long time. Hurting a company which has supported us when it was potentially detrimental to their business interests seems wrong-headed. Companies like Stoli have NO influence on the Russian government. The economic impact of such a boycott is minimal.
Presently the internationally distributed version of Stolichnaya is bottled in Latvia by SPI Group, a Russian-owned company. In 2009, William Grant & Sons signed an agreement to distribute Stolichnaya in the USA, taking over from PepsiCo. The rights to distribute Stolichnaya branded vodka outside Russia but not covering the United States are owned by Soyuzplodimport, known internationally as SPI Group, controlled by Yuri Scheffler. SPI Group had a global distribution agreement with Pernod Ricard, which was canceled after Pernod Ricard bought Absolut vodka.
good idea. I'm sure vodka businesses get a lot of money from gay clubs in general.
I seem to recall a gay boycott of Coors...
I have been boycotting anything Israeli for years. Never buy fruit or anything else from those despicable people.
Why R35? Israel is a beacon of democracy and sanity in the Middle East. Gay people who criticize Israel are so ignorant. Do you have any idea what they do to gay people in Arab countries? And don't think those Muslims who emigrate here are any better-they bring "Allah" with them. Far more dangerous that even the most radical born-again Christian.
Your statement is anti-semetic!
[quote]Belvedere (Polish) Chopin (Polish)
Poland is not too far off in their homophobia from Russia. It's a matter of time before they legislate anti-gay policies.
I'm all for it.
Although it hardly seems like we are sacrificing much in opting for Ketel One, Belvedere or Ciroc.
Good. I have a hard time with Russians anyway...what is their problem with gays?
I can't stand the country of Israel but I didn't know that they actually made anything, except weapons.
Just buy the Swedish/French/Dutch stuff and be done with it.
R36, it's you who are the idiot here, not me. I'm not talking about gay rights, I'm talking about human rights.. which Israel is guilty of violating every day. You should also look up pink propaganda. Stop being so clueless.
[quote]I have been boycotting anything Israeli for years. Never buy fruit or anything else from those despicable people.
Then why are you using a laptop or anything with a chip in it, you dumb fuck? It was invented and is manufactured by "those despicable people", herr Goebbels.
[quote]But does anyone actually GO to a gay bar anymore? I stopped in one on Saturday night and it was really frightening.
Who are you? I've been seeing this myth being pushed on DL for years. I've yet to see any great change in the popularity or viability of gay bars.
What did you see that was "really frightening"?
R43, if I can't help it, then I can't help it.. obviously. It's not my fault that the big companies trade with that despicable country. However, I never buy any groceries or other items from Israel unless I can help it.
Most people on this board would rather bash women, excuse me- fraus, or make up gossip about celebrities than actually do something that would make a difference.
How did this thread end up being about Israel? Gay attention deficit disorder?
[quote]How did this thread end up being about Israel? Gay attention deficit disorder?
Every thread about an atrocity somewhere or gay hating anywhere around the world always ends up with someone claiming the Jews are the worst posts, like the cunt in this thread.
On with the vodka.
Cool graphics and a list of gay bars in this article:
Boycotts work. Remember Orange Juice?
"The fallout from her political activism hurt her business and entertainment career. Her contract with the Florida Citrus Commission was allowed to lapse in 1979 because of the controversy and the negative publicity generated by her political campaigns and the resulting boycott of Florida orange juice."
"In 1977 lesbian/gay businesses joined an AFL-CIO boycott of Coors, citing Coors' history of support for attacks on gay rights. Sales of Coors beer plummeted in the gay community. The lesbian/gay boycott of Coors hurt Coors so badly that in 1995 Coors was one of the first major corporations to adopt same sex domestic partner benefits."
All of a sudden it's 1977 again!
Don't drink, eat, or smoke anything Russian. Martinis taste just as good without Russian vodka. Putin may think he's making brownie points in Muslim countries with his anti-gay policies. But the world has now seen the innocent and bloody faces of those protestors who were attacked.
The boycott is already working. Keep it going.
I like the idea of boycotting the Olympics a lot.
Those photographs of the marchers being attacked were truly horrific. I'm old enough to remember the photos of from the Selma marches back in the 60s that appeared in Life Magazine. Change was in the air, but things speeded up after that.
I don't think it's necessary for bars or restaurants to post any of the photos of these poor beaten gay men and women to justify a boycott. Just mention that we do not serve Russian Vodka, or caviar, in this establishment due to the brutality of Vlad Putin's government.
Thanks R10 , fascinating.
What other Russian products or companies are there to boycott besides vodka?
This ramped-up anti-gay agenda in Russia,combined with Putin's looming divorce, are putting a lot of his other behavior into a strange perspective.(?).
I've wondered in the past about all the OTT hyper-masculine photo ops.
Constant shirtless ness(?), hunting,gunslinging, wild animal taming,feats of strength, etc. etc.
If one applies Occam's razor theory to Putin, the answer is really obvious. He and Medvedev are a couple.
In every example of a closeted politician in the US,they inevitably hide in plain sight,behind a vehemently anti-gay voting record and homophobic rhetoric.
Watch for Mrs.Puty Poot's tragic "accident "!
r56 All his macho shit and Rambo image promotion could easily be because he is getting OLD (61) and trying to portray an image of a young, in control and "strong man" like the Russians love so much. It doesn't have to be that he's gay.
Of course that he could be gay so what do I know. I try not to think or look at that vile man.
[quote]I've yet to see any great change in the popularity or viability of gay bars.
I suppose that could be true if you're posting from San Francisco or West Hollywood.
Though the ban on Russian vodka won't send Russia to the poorhouse, it attracts attention to the way those monsters are treating gay people.
I will no longer suck Russian cock, no matter how big.
"The lesbian/gay boycott of Coors hurt Coors so badly that in 1995 Coors was one of the first major corporations to adopt same sex domestic partner benefits."
What's the source of this quote, R51?
Coors also hired Dick Cheney's gay daughter to be their outreach to the gay community.
...and she failed miserably.
The only gays against the boycott are reps and whores for Stoli, like the utterly hideous Gaycities and skittish nightclub booze promoters worried about their bribes.
No, she didn't fail, r63. As much as I dislike that nasty bitch, Coors is in very good standing with the gay community and is sold in most gay bars.
Ben Maisani is against the boycott. His bar depends on Russian vibes.
...in Colorado, sure.
Cheney was Coor's whore in the early 1990s, when only rightwing red states' gay bars carried it.
Only in recent years have desperate gay media taken their ads and sponsorship for softball games and the like.
Cheney was long gone before those gays turned whore.
One nice thing about the vodka boycott is that the fendementalist anti-gay crowd isn't going to go out and start buying it up just to spite us.
I was about to say the same thing, R67. Remember the poster at Free Republic who said he's getting to like Putin more and more? I can picture a bunch of those freaks resolving to go down to the Kroeger to buy some of that Ruskie vodka only to get there and see it's $30 a bottle. That will cool their jets immediately. And then they'll opt for their usual rotgut.
Mary Cheney was a professional lesbian, but her mother denied that she had ever come out.
Nasty ties exist between the anti-gay forces and global booze sales.
The poster about orange juice has a point -- sanctions can kick ass. Let's not drink or pay for Russian vodka.
Well I hate vodka, so I guess I don't have to worry about checking where that rubbing alcohol is made.
The orange juice boycott worked in an era before social media and easy communication. We should be able to build a bigger boycott in these times.
Thank you, so much R70 ,
It's the way you tell a story ,that really makes it something special.