Russian Vodka Boycott Talking Points


Courtesy Rich Juzwiak, a great New Republic piece by Julia Ioffe, "Eight Horrific and Uplifting Stories About Being Gay in the New Russia".
There is a group in Russia called Occupy Pedophilia run by a neo-Nazi named Maksim “the Hatchet” Martsinkevich. The group uses young men to lure older men into sexual encounters, at which point Maksim, usually shirtless, interrogates them on camera before pouring a bottle of urine on their heads.…
Shit! I see you linked to it yesterday here. Oopsie.
Wow, you were honestly asked why not just quit now that a point has been made?

How does a question that is so baldly stupid actually make it that far? Does no one there know what a "boycott" is?

"Hey guys, we can call of this whole 'American Revolution' thing. We totally already made out point with the tea dumping. Nowhere to go from here."
@3 Sometimes reporters ask stupid questions because they are stupid or at least ill informed and out of their depth.

Other times, the "stupid" questions are attempts to educate viewers who may not know better or an attempt to get someone's views on record.
Could you respond to the points made in this article?…

I read it, prepared to be pissed off, but the writer actually seemed to make some good points. What if the head of Stoli is actually in a big conflict with Putin already and pushing him out is only going to help Putin?
Don't forget the news channels have to cater to the absolute lowest common denominator... Mouth breathers who have no clue how the world functions and are mostly oblivious to everything other than their naval lint.

Not that those people actually watch the news, but the news still caters to them (most of the time).
There are other events before the Olympics, though not so large in scope. People have begun petitioning the WTA to pull this autumn's Kremlin Cup from Moscow. There may be no big-name out players at the moment, but the last major champion LGBT player, Amelie Mauresmo, would probably attend as the French Fed Cup captain, and Rennae Stubbs would probably be doing commentary. I wonder what Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King will have to say.

As everything always reminds me of something, this was the tournament that was won about five years ago by Elena Dementieva, who defeated Serena Williams in the final. Normally one to give herself a harsh berating after a loss, that time Serena was genuinely impressed by Elena's game, saying, "She should play like that more often."
There's really no time to relocate the Sochi Olympics (and Vancouver has repurposed most of its Olympic infrastructure, so that really isn't an option either), but there's plenty of time to relocate the 2018 World Cup.
I suppose that I could tell what the other four brands produced by Stoli are by the fact that I wouldn't like them too much either, but I would like a resource for this boycott just in case, so if anyone has a link to one I'd apreciate it (yes I Googled it, to no avail).

My most recent vodka purchase was supposedly from Mendocino though the bottle says New Amsterdam, so I'm sure that I could have been mislead, (they were out of Svedka) (which is supposedly from Sweden but I'm getting paranoid about this stuff now).

For the record: New Amsterdam seems as good as Svedka so far, very clean without the warm burn of Stoli.
I don't drink vodka. But now I know ways I can join in. I won't buy Proctor and Gamble products. I was watching RT, the Russian world t.v. network, and they did what I thought was a deliberately toned down piece on the boycott. Something I very much doubt was shown in Russia.
How about a proper introduction of Matt Fikse-Verkerk? The Stranger author page linked has two Slog posts.

How did he come to be involved in the boycott? What is his past experience in business and social activism?
Here's something else to get excited about: Amazon is opening a site in Russia. They have an office there already, though currently redirects to Amazon Europe.

Apple just opened a Russian iTunes site.

I'm not sure that driving Amazon and Apple out of Russia is going to help gay people there, but it would be cool if they put explicit equal rights messages on their pages, and if Amazon tucked a lavender flyer in every package explaining what's wrong with the laws and how they hurt every Russian, not just gay people.
6, you have a great point, but the truth behind it only enrages me more. News shows should set a standard for intelligent thinking, to show the mouth-breathers how it's done. By pandering to them, it only makes them more secure, by telling them it's acceptable to be idiots.
@5 The minute someone says that a boycott, any boycott, will not work for any reason than to raise awareness, then they've already missed the point. Any arguments that comes from that false premise simply fall apart. The strategy of denial of an individual's purchase for financial punishment aren't the point. Boycotts as a way to raise awareness to a larger audience and/or boycott to force larger organizations to avoid purchase are the point.

In less than a month, in part because of the publicity surrounding this boycott, more people are more aware and angry about what's happening in Russia. Now you are beginning to see memes asking Company X to boycott activity Y in Russia. So the next step is working as well.

What I have seen cause most boycotts to fall apart is lethargy. Boycotts take time and they take persistence.
@11 Here's a thought: not purchasing product only works if you tell them you didn't buy it and why. These days we are very lucky because social media gives us an easy way to let them know that we didn't purchase while also telling others that there's a problem. If they have a Twitter account, chances are good that they have someone from marketing watching that feed or they have an aggregation software collecting data. So don't buy that product but then send a tweet: "Hey product X bought Product Y today instead of your product. Here's why: #insesrt_boycott_hashtag_here If you're really active on an alternative social network, do it there instead. Just a reminder the Facebook now allows hash tags.

Like you, I don't drink. This gives me a great way to help.

Egyptian soldiers are shooting citizens a d barely a peep from the Stranger.

In Russia legislation you disagree with fines corruption of children and this is equivalent to the Holocaust.

Got it. I think. Wait, what are you people- crazy?
Wow, you looked like shit Dan.
Stoli is still on the backbar at the gay friendly clubs in Spokane. Because it's Latvian. And because Spokane is Spokane.
don't forget the Park City Conflagration

boy oh boy is the boycott working......
There's no reason to pour out perfectly good vodka for the boycott. Simply don't buy more Russian vodka.
I've been experimenting with Vodka pasta sauce recipes and they're kinda bland but with some cayenne, capers, and a lot of slow simmering and reducing it can be quite nice. Next I'm going to try a non-tomato one if I can find such a recipe or dream it up.

Did you even watch the clip?

Danny was not asked 'why not just quit now that a point has been made'....

These were hypothetical questions Danny was prepared to answer.

How does a comment that is so baldly stupid actually make it this far?

Perhaps you could have your cat proofread your comments before you hit 'send'.....
Harvey the Magnificent was on fire giving Chris Hayes ten kinds of hell for his Monday show. I was standing and pumping my fists and cheering at the top of my lungs. Dan was the reasonable uncle type giving Hayes a gentler, kinder lesson on why LGBTs are not fucking around about the Russian Reich running over gays and allies. The best part of it all was the shell-shocked Hayes handing off to Rachel Maddow, who commented that she felt scorched by the heat of Hayes' come to Jesus meeting. I have never felt more Pride.
I wanted to be enthusiastic about this boycott from the get-go because I think well-targeted boycotts can work. But that means: (1) one that's focused on a limited number of products, which this one is; (2) one that is already popular among those who are boycotting it, which this one is (there's no point in Alcoholics Anonymous launching a boycott against vodka, for example); and (3) one with clearly defined objectives for declaring victory and an end to the boycott. My concern from the get-go is that the boycott targets aren't in a position to directly make the change themselves, like they could if it were simply to get the companies to change their own policies.

So I wish these talking points had focused more detail on what you want these companies to do, and what victory conditions would be. They are touched on a little, but buried:

In the "Isn't Stoli a Latvian Company" section:

And both of these companies—SPI and Russian Standard—are ideal targets for a boycott because inside Russia, regardless of the whether the heads of the companies like or don't like Putin, these companies have enormous influence.

and in the "Why not call it off if you've made your point" section:

If SPI or Russian Standard or any other Russian vodka maker wants the boycott to end, they should put their best, most aggressive, most effective ideas on the table about how they will support LGBT people inside Russia on this issue and create change inside Russia.

I wish these elements were fleshed out a little. Let's say Stoli actively and demonstratively campaigns within Russia to repeal the law. If we felt they were honestly in good faith trying to get the law repealed, would that be sufficient? The part that's entirely in Stoli's power is trying to get it repealed (which they have not yet tried to do). But actually repealing it is not in Stoli's direct power.

I still feel a little uncomfortable targeting a company for something that isn't in their direct power. But if the boycott had more clearly defined end goals like something like this, I'd feel better.
@25, the organizations that were pressured to disinvest in South Africa during the apartheid era (and the enterprises in which they had been invested) were not directly in a position to end apartheid, either, and yet that movement was ultimately successful.

It doesn't take too much imagination to come up with ways that "Russian vodka" makers/distributors can alter their sourcing and/or target markets in ways that keep themselves alive but also damage the Russian government. When (not if) Russia backs down, the companies will most likely emerge stronger and more profitable than ever.

If they're not smart enough to figure this out for themselves or at least hire crisis consultants to help them figure it out, maybe they deserve to languish or die (free market and all that).
This remains the dumbest exercise in fact-evasive tautology that Dan Savage has involved himself in since he endorsed the Iraq war. It is profoundly, embarrassingly clueless.

His talking-head appearances on the subject remind me of climate change deniers.


No clue? Well, that's a relief! Then the Egyptian citizens protesting the removal of a democratically elected president are actually terrorists who SHOULD be killed without trial by their government! They had it coming, damn them!

And the (admittedly foolish but clearly none of our business) Russian law prohibiting evangelizing gay lifestyle choices to minors doesn't involve minors?

Sorry. My mistake...
"If Stoli were truly a a friend of gays instead of paying lip service to it or pinkwashing themselves with a parade on some other continent, they would find things to do in Russia to support Russian LGBT people."

Like what? I hear this phrase tossed around alot, how about some specifics on what exactly Stoli would have to do to show they are "A true friend"?

I'd love to hear the recommendation of action that Stoli could take within its own borders that wouldn't end up with Stoli employees getting jailed, the company being vandalized, or the entire operation getting completely cut down at the knees in the wake of a massive government backlash after publicly supporting gay rights.

Easy for wealthy, comfortable Americans to demand company execs and low income employees in an oppressive country risk life, limb, income and career to show "True Friendship" lest they lose their business and potentially their jobs, when all the Americans are willing to do is pour out some Vodka from the comfort of their community bar and pat themselves on the back as freedom fighters.

Its no wonder why half the world hates us sometimes.

@ 22 = I don't know where you're getting your info about what's happening in Egypt right now, but get it somewhere else, it's totally false.

Islam does not equate terrorism, like you seem to think. The army is shooting (mostly) innocent people who just ask that the results of the democratic elections held two years ago be respected. If a majority of Egyptians wanted an Islamic government, there is no reason why they shouldn't have one.
@29: I know that a kudos from me is considered poisonous, but that was very well said.
Here in San Francisco we held a Stoli dump outside the Original Stoli Guy pageant at the BeatBox bar which is obviously not boycotting the swill from SPI Group. Check out our report and pix from the dump on Wednesday night:

And be sure to watch the three-story gay Russian package that aired on KTVU/Fox on Wednesday night:
Please join the boycott Facebook page here:
To join the facebook boycott page can be found here:…
Have you heard this? "The Serene, a $330 million, 440-foot private yacht belonging to a wealthy Russian vodka distributor [Stoli], pulled into Seattle’s Pier 90 over the weekend."…
Stolichnaya has actually come out in STRONG SUPPORT of the Russian LGBT community. So boycotting Stoli is WRONG! Think, people!!!!