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Gay Bars' Ban on Russian Vodka Is Going Global

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

by Anonymousreply 7608/01/2013

Good idea. But does anyone actually GO to a gay bar anymore? I stopped in one on Saturday night and it was really frightening.

by Anonymousreply 107/29/2013

Like banning Russian vodka is going to hurt Russia. I think we should nuke them.

by Anonymousreply 607/29/2013

The Russians drink so much vodka themselves this should hardly put a dent in sales.

by Anonymousreply 807/29/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 1007/29/2013

[quote]Someone on datalounge suggested it a few days before Dan.

Link please. TIA

by Anonymousreply 1107/29/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 1607/29/2013

No more Russian dressing on salad!

by Anonymousreply 1807/29/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 1907/29/2013

R8: Verbatim what I was thinking. Those people have blood in their vodka stream.

by Anonymousreply 2007/29/2013

Drink Absolut.

It's Swedish.

by Anonymousreply 2107/30/2013

Or better yet:

Belvedere (Polish) Grey Goose (French) Ketel One (Dutch) Chopin (Polish)

by Anonymousreply 2207/30/2013

Stoli is made in the Baltics, not Russia, and according to NPR, the Company has been very supportive of gay causes.

Just sayin'.

by Anonymousreply 2307/30/2013

True , If you have to drink Vodka there are so many other (and better) choices.

by Anonymousreply 2407/30/2013

The Russian brands listed on wiki I've never even heard of and it says Latvia and Russia for Stoli.

Dovgan tt Gold Symphony (Золотая симфония) ttRussia t Standart ttt Hrenovuha (Хреновуха) t Kauffman tt Kubanskaya (Кубанская) ttt Moskovskaya (Московская) Narodnaya (Народная) ttt Pyatizvyozdnaya Putinka (Путинка) tPutinka t Rodnik (Родник) t Ruskova (Рускова) tt Russian Standard (Русский стандарт) tRussian Standard Vodka Shustov (Шустов) tt Starka (Старка) tt


by Anonymousreply 2507/30/2013

I'm having Freedom dressing on my salad.

by Anonymousreply 2707/30/2013

[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.

by Anonymousreply 2907/30/2013

[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.

by Anonymousreply 3007/30/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 3107/30/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 3207/30/2013

I seem to recall a gay boycott of Coors...

by Anonymousreply 3407/30/2013

[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.

by Anonymousreply 3707/30/2013

I'm all for it.

Although it hardly seems like we are sacrificing much in opting for Ketel One, Belvedere or Ciroc.

by Anonymousreply 3807/30/2013

Good. I have a hard time with Russians anyway...what is their problem with gays?

Dumb asses.

by Anonymousreply 3907/30/2013

Just buy the Swedish/French/Dutch stuff and be done with it.

by Anonymousreply 4107/30/2013

[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.

by Anonymousreply 4307/30/2013

[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"?

by Anonymousreply 4407/30/2013

R36, this article is for you..

by Anonymousreply 4507/30/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 4707/30/2013

How did this thread end up being about Israel? Gay attention deficit disorder?

by Anonymousreply 4807/30/2013

[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.

by Anonymousreply 4907/30/2013

Cool graphics and a list of gay bars in this article:

by Anonymousreply 5007/30/2013

Thanks R10 , fascinating.

by Anonymousreply 5407/30/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 5707/30/2013

[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.

by Anonymousreply 5807/30/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 5907/30/2013

I will no longer suck Russian cock, no matter how big.

by Anonymousreply 6007/30/2013

"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?

by Anonymousreply 6107/30/2013

Coors also hired Dick Cheney's gay daughter to be their outreach to the gay community.

by Anonymousreply 6207/30/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 6407/30/2013

Ben Maisani is against the boycott. His bar depends on Russian vibes.

by Anonymousreply 6507/30/2013

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.

by Anonymousreply 6807/31/2013

Well I hate vodka, so I guess I don't have to worry about checking where that rubbing alcohol is made.

by Anonymousreply 7007/31/2013

Thank you, so much R70 , It's the way you tell a story ,that really makes it something special.

by Anonymousreply 7208/01/2013


by Anonymousreply 7608/01/2013
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