Check out these horrific photos, then boycott Russia, starting with Stoli

Matt Stopera at Buzzfeed has posted 36 photos that demand a boycott of Russia. #dumpstoli

They’re brutal pictures of numerous anti-gay beatings and attacks that have taken place in the past year in that country.  And they are exhibit A in how Russia has again become the evil it left behind in 1991, and why Americans, and citizens of the world, need to boycott Russia now, starting with Stolichnaya vodka.


We’d reported a few weeks ago about how Russia had enacted into law one of the nastiest pieces of anti-gay legislation in the world, in essence outlaying anything gay, even pro-gay speech.

The legislation also contained a specific provision targeting foreigners, should they make the mistake of saying, or doing, or wearing any piece of clothing that might suggest that gay is okay.  And the round-up of foreigners has already begun.  Four Dutch citizens were recently arrested under the anti-gay law for the “crime” of filming a documentary about gay and trans people in Russia.

Russia’s surge of anti-gay legislation, and now violence, has led Harvey Fierstein and Dan Savage to both call for a boycott of Russia.

First Fierstein in the NYT:

Mr. Putin’s campaign against lesbian, gay and bisexual people is one of distraction, a strategy of demonizing a minority for political gain taken straight from the Nazi playbook. Can we allow this war against human rights to go unanswered? Although Mr. Putin may think he can control his creation, history proves he cannot: his condemnations are permission to commit violence against gays and lesbians. In May a young gay man was murdered in the city of Volgograd. He was beaten, his body violated with beer bottles, his clothing set on fire, his head crushed with a rock. This is most likely just the beginning….

With Russia about to hold the Winter Games in Sochi, the country is open to pressure. American and world leaders must speak out against Mr. Putin’s attacks and the violence they foster. The Olympic Committee must demand the retraction of these laws under threat of boycott.

In 1936 the world attended the Olympics in Germany. Few participants said a word about Hitler’s campaign against the Jews. Supporters of that decision point proudly to the triumph of Jesse Owens, while I point with dread to the Holocaust and world war. There is a price for tolerating intolerance.

And now, Dan Savage, who recommends we start the boycott by dumping Stoli and every other Russian vodka, and we can start with gay bars:

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 andDUMP 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 graphiccreated by Matt.


Drink a Stoli, bash a queer.

Later on, Dan raises a good point.  In spite of the fact that the Olympics have had such a pitiful response to the rising climate of violence in Russia, gay athletes should go to the Olympics and flame like they’ve never flamed.  They should win some medals and flaunt their homosexuality on stage for the world to see.  Then let’s see if Putin has the balls to enforce his hateful law.

But in the meantime, enough is enough.  Russia is turning back into the old evil all of us over 40 recognize only too well.  And it’s time to put a stop to it, with the means available.  And for starters, that means hitting Russia where it hurts.  And you can’t start with a better target than Stolichnaya vodka.

Dan lists a few of the Russian vodkas out there.  Talk to your local gay bars, find out if they’re willing to join the boycott, and get back to any of us and let us know which bars are willing to help, and which are not.

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.

And the boycott has already begun.  Sidetracks, one of Chicago’s most famous, if not the most famous, gay bar, has pulled Russian vodka from its shelves.  It’s time for all American bars, and bars around the world – that means you, our European friends – to do the same.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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98 Responses to “Check out these horrific photos, then boycott Russia, starting with Stoli”

  1. Lyuba Allenivna Marchenko says:

    You get over yourself. At least they have the right intentions, whether it works or not. And I think you are a troll. A bisexual troll trying to start shite. I’m bi and when the shite hits the fan and the queer haters starting beating and killing, dont think for one moment they wont kick your fecking teeth in!

  2. Goose says:

    If you are boycotting the Stoli, I’m sorry you are a fag.
    I am Bi and I can’t stand how ignorant all these Gay people are being. You guys are doing this just for the political attention more than anything else. If you honestly cared about Gay rights you would boycott all the countries that have laws like this. Just not the one that will make the news. And besides even if you could do that, I’m sure some how you would use a product that somehow ties back to anti-gay efforts. When you pick and choose who you boycott, you make Gay people look childish and just stupid. NO matter what in someway or somehow your money will always go towards someone who is putting money into something you are against. We should just get over it.

  3. Patric Oesterheld says:

    I think the real pressure, if it comes, is going to come from the IOC and the Olympic sponsors… That’s a lot of money riding on those companies’ involvement – more than enough to change Russia’s stance…I hope it does.

    The other thing that is going to give the issue a ton of international scrutiny is if athletes come in wearing their rainbow pins. I truly don’t think Russia is dumb enough to mess with the athletes or Olympic tourists, but if they do…

  4. Patric Oesterheld says:

    Obviously more than is paying you – but that’s because I can post a coherent thought and you post idiotic drivel.

  5. Doc Marten says:

    You Russkies are sure scared shitless of we GAYS. Why? Because we buy more vodka? LOL. You pussies.

  6. Doc Marten says:

    Or Uganda.

  7. Doc Marten says:

    Go fuck yourself.

  8. Doc Marten says:

    How much is Puhitler paying you?

  9. Rasly says:

    lol most rediculous bullshit that i have read in long time

  10. Skeptical Cicada says:

    Give me a break! You’re the hypocritical bigot who elsewhere just taunted, “I’m straight, I’m already married and if I wanted to I could get married every day again and twice on Sunday.” Go fuck your husband.

  11. Clevelandchick says:

    Putin can keep bankrupting billionaires for his various reasons (mostly he has done so because they challenge his power and it has ad nothing to do with gay rights) but in the long run that hurts his country, not just gays in his country. He’ll have to answer for that one way or another.

    Realize that you’re asking gays sacrifice their lives by not standing up. Stoli is a global brand, it’s time for them to take a stand or lose money. It’s that simple. They do have the power to effect change in their country and keep their market share happy. It’s not like there aren’t 10 or more other decent brands of vodka anyone who supports gay rights can drink.

  12. Rob says:

    Money doesn’t mean power in Russia, Putin can, will, and has bankrupted billionaires and let them rot in prison for simply disagreeing with him. Realize that you’re demanding people sacrifice their lives for you. See

    Not to mention, Stoli has been supportive of gay rights, and as others have pointed out that internationally distributed Stoli is not the same thing as the state owned Stoli distributed within Russia, it’s even produced in Russian, but Latvia.

  13. Whitewitch says:

    Well actually I meant vial – as it is where they store their supply of hate. (Seriously though thanks for the correction).

  14. GanymedeATL says:

    Seems timed to pressure Putin to give up Snowden. Obama’s counting on drones to make it happen.

  15. GanymedeATL says:

    It’s spelled ‘vile’. Vial is where you keep your supply.

  16. ta2t2o says:

    Got what you’re saying – but as a gay man – I have a choice where I can spend my own money. Absolut has been a huge proponent of gay rights – I’d rather spend my money there. This should just be the start – the boycott should extend to all things Russian. It’s well known that when you stop the flow of money to these corporations (just like in America) you can help them discover their voice to speak out against this.
    Your comment is the same type of thing that folks in Germany said – it’s a voice of acquiescence and cowardice.

  17. Patric Oesterheld says:

    Yeah – the gay community would do better to not boycott companies that have
    been long time supporters for ancillary “support” of anti gay policies,

    I thought that last night when I read the article about Target giving money to support Ken Cuccinelli in Virginia… Target gave
    both parties $50K. To extend that to “Target gives to anti-gay
    candidate” is like saying that I’m anti-gay because I shopped there
    yesterday… Or saying that the Family Equality Council, who received
    the proceeds from Target’s Pride t-shirts last year are anti-gay because
    they took money from a company that gave money to a political group
    that gave money to an anti-gay candidate… Where do you stop the
    “guilty by association”????

    Expecting Stoli to move their corporation or expecting their owner to magically
    throw all of his money at the government to get the country to embrace
    homosexuality is a little farfetched. They’ve been very vocal in support
    of gay rights – but even they would have a hard time changing an entire
    government’s policies and prejudices.

    Far better not to bite the hand that feeds. Companies that take the leap to
    embrace gay rights shouldn’t be the ones that are shit on due to some
    tenuous association with companies or political organizations or
    countries that don’t support it right now… That’s pretty
    counter-intuitive by these websites that post this kind of stuff…

  18. mejumaxuturi says:

    мy coυѕιɴ ιѕ мαĸιɴɢ $51/нoυr oɴlιɴe. υɴeмployed ғor α coυple oғ yeαrѕ αɴd prevιoυѕ yeαr ѕнe ɢoт α $1З619cнecĸ wιтн oɴlιɴe joв ғor α coυple oғ dαyѕ. ѕee мore αт…­ ­ViewMore——————————————&#46qr&#46net/kkEj

    Two notable boycotts worked — grapes and the boycott of Coors by the
    gay community. But even the Coors boycott worked only because unions and
    the gay bar managers were on board. Today, many gays drink in
    mainstream, rather than gay, bars. Many more skip the bars altogether
    and rely on Grindr, Scruff, Manhunt, and Adam4Adam for a faux social

  19. doug105 says:

    All ready on a few sites but needs to be spread.

    Russian LGBT Teens Publicly Bullied and Tortured by Neo Nazis on Video. Local Law Enforcement Condones Homophobia.

    Too hell with Russia

  20. REALrenovato says:

    Well said

  21. cole3244 says:

    i’m not gay and i don’t drink alcoholic beverages, i’ve been boycotting for at least 25 years.

  22. FunMe says:

    No. They are back to gay toasters. ;-)

  23. FLL says:

    Just when you think it couldn’t get worse in Russia, it does. The headline for this article is “Russian LGBT Teens Publicly Bullied and Tortured by Neo Nazis on Video. Local Law Enforcement Condones Homophobia.” Apparently, ultranationalist/skinhead groups have organized over 500 online groups on, Russia’s popular social network, in order to entrap gay teens. According to the article, “Captured victims are bullied and often tortured while being recorded on video.” Here is the link to the article:

  24. Zorba says:

    Well, you just have to come here and try our gyros with tzatziki sauce (we make the sauce from scratch, with our own homemade Greek yogurt), our dolmades, our hummus, our baklava, our souvlaki………… ;-)

  25. FLL says:

    Your right about the time frame. In the 1930s, huge numbers of Russian immigrants were settled in Latvia by Stalin’s regime. Estonia and Lithuania escaped that fate. Today Latvia retains closer ties to Russia due to its very large ethnic Russian minority. I’m sure that was a factor when Yuri Scheffler decided to move his bottling operations to Latvia.

  26. Jimmy R says:

    Only in Russia. And they’re nice enough to tattoo it right on your forehead.

  27. karmanot says:

    True, a bottle has been sitting on my shelf for years.

  28. karmanot says:

    The Russian Orthodox Church in SF has a ‘culture day’ where the babushkas bring in home made piroshkis and borscht——just heaven, so delicious.

  29. karmanot says:

    GAAAAAAAA! Oh, JP I can barely make it to my mailbox and back, let alone down that list.

  30. Julien Pierre says:

    Here is the list of the Socchi 2014 sponsors :

    That’s quite a few companies to pressure to pull out.


    Jet Set

    Arcelor Mittal
    Thomas Cook

    World Class
    Exect Business Training
    Kelly Services
    Kaspersky Lab
    Contemporary International
    Russian Buses – Gaz Group
    Life Fitness
    PR agency CROS

  31. karmanot says:


  32. karmanot says:

    Rage Against the LOGO!

  33. Julien Pierre says:

    Guess it’s time to boycott NBC, Coke, P&G, GM, Volkswagen, etc.

  34. karmanot says:

    Smart ass

  35. Julien Pierre says:

    I have my own personal sauna at home, thank you, and there is no card access.

  36. Barry says:

    Mayor Louie Welch of Houston had the answer to the AIDS problem back in the 70’s. His answer on camera was “Shoot the queers.” And for a while the HPD was making good progress. Pat Robertson says any city that would knowingly cultivate a queer community deserves the wrath of God. These abominable monsters only want to get their hands on children; as their unholy union generates no offspring. Queers stay in the closet or face the Cajun Ku Klux Klan from Crowley, Louisiana. Russia is just taking care of business, Southern style.

  37. samizdat says:

    Like most Soviet Republics, Latvia fell victim to the interior migration program of the Russian majority government. In 1935, Russian ethnic numbers were at 206K (10% of pop.), in 1989, at 905K, or 35%, in 2011 at 550K, or 26%. Whether or not the Latvian majority has participated in these outrages is unclear, but what is clear is that the Latvian nation has been changed due to the presence of the Russian majority.

    This of course is no attempt to forgive the actions of anyone in Latvia.

  38. Thom Allen says:

    Here’s a good idea for a start. Don’t boycott the Olympics, use them to put pressure on Russia.

    “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.” From a comment posted on Dan Savage’s slog.

  39. Whitewitch says:

    Even Drudge the sludge is reporting on it… Thankfully the article does not have a comments section or the crazies would be posting like mad men! I can always tell when the Drudge links to a story become the comments become so vial.

  40. Whitewitch says:

    Ketel One is excellent. I will have to try Tito’s…with a twist!

  41. Whitewitch says:

    You crack me me K….you dog

  42. karmanot says:


  43. FLL says:

    There are Russian companies other than Stoli to boycott as well. As far as Stoli, the grain is grown in Russia. It is bottled in Latvia, and even the Wikipedia gives the following information about Latvia:

    “Lesbians and gays are often attacked in the streets or in the meeting places. Lesbians and gays are often attacked in the streets or in the meeting places…Over the last three years, there have been violent attacks against individuals in lesbian and gay bars and cafes, police representatives have conducted unauthorized raids against such establishments to check documents and search for weapons, during the course of which establishments are often closed down and patrons are humiliated.”

    So you have a vodka made with grain grow in Russia, bottled in a country which is also experiencing a wave of anti-gay pogroms, and the entire affair is owned by a Russian tycoon, Yuri Scheffler, who chooses to register his company in Switzerland for legal reasons. And you are seriously telling me that Dan Savage is wrong to suggest a boycott?

  44. Zorba says:

    OMG! I know a few ethnic Russians, who make outstanding piroshkis. Not to be confused with pierogies, which are boiled first and then fried, and which my ethnic Belarusian and Carpatho-Russian (although they tend to call themselves “Rusyn”) friends make. Both are great.
    And I think that we are in danger of hijacking the thread, K., with our comments on food and vodka.
    And I am getting hungry. ;-)

  45. FLL says:

    When I mentioned a Swedish company taking over SPI, that was purely a hypothetical example. If you read my comment, you would realize that I was using a Swedish takeover as a hypothetical example.Obviously, the company is still owned by Yuri Schelfler. Are you saying that Yuri Schelfer is no longer a Russian citizen? Which country is he a citizen or resident of.

  46. Thom Watson says:

    Stoli itself even admits in its latest PR response, though, after evading and dissembling and bungling their response for days, that the grains are grown in Russia. On their own website they also state that these grains then are distilled in Russia, before being sent on to Latvia for further processing and distribution.

  47. Thom Watson says:

    Stoli itself admits, even in its latest PR trying to forestall a boycott, that the grains are grown in Russia. Its website still says that those grains are then distilled in Russia before being sent to Latvia for further processing and distribution.

  48. Zorba says:

    Yes, Grey Goose is great, but I sure can’t afford it very often! ;-)

  49. kladinvt says:

    Concentrate on the sponsors first and foremost.

  50. MyrddinWilt says:

    I think this story shows why the complaints about progressive priorities being ‘too gay’ are misplaced.

    Gay rights and women’s rights are the canaries in the coal mine. The oppression of women and gays are not the only things wrong in Saudi Arabia, Iran, etc. They are not even necessarily the very worst things about the brutal regimes (e.g. the outright murder of political opponents). But the supporters of institutionalized discrimination are usually the main supporters of everything else that is wrong.

    Institutional discrimination can be measured objectively: It is easy to show that a Jew can get a building permit in Israel but a non-Jew cannot. The Saudis can defend their absolute dictatorship against democratic models as being due to different cultural values. Defending their treatment of women forces them to admit that their cultural values include bigotry.

    Russia is nowhere near as bad as the Soviet Union was but there has been a slow, steady slide back to dictatorship. The opposition is harassed, imprisoned on trumped up charges and occasionally murdered. Putin has four groups of thugs based on the NAZI stormtroopers whose purpose is to ‘own the streets’ should an arab spring type situation be threatened. Those groups are in part funded by Internet crime. Groups like the Russian Business Network have defrauded US banks of hundreds of millions of dollars. Putin’s mob gives them safe haven in return for political services such as denial of service attacks on Web sites that criticize Putin.

    Until recently, the establishment narrative has been that the situation in Russia has been steadily improving. The discrimination against gays proves the opposite.

  51. kladinvt says:

    I think all the Olympic sponsors should be asked to respond publicly to the crimes against LGBT Russians by their own government and if the sponsors blow us off, then start a movement to boycott any of them footing the bill for the Olympics. They could end up being sponsored by Chick-fi-a!

  52. nicho says:

    Give me another Absolut — and keep ’em coming until the Russians knuckle under.

  53. Naja pallida says:

    Sadly, he’s right though. He touched on pretty much the top commercial products exported from Russia to the US. We just don’t buy many of their products, and most of the ones we do buy tend to be out of the reach of the typical consumer anyway. The money is in things like industrial fertilizers, titanium and aluminum… but chances are we’d never be able to find out which companies are importing raw materials from Russia for their finished products, and even if we did, no boycott is likely to make much of an economic impact because most of Russia’s exports do not go to the US. But we come back to the Olympics, a perfect opportunity to shine some light on the real Russia… but undoubtedly the media will whitewash the whole thing, just like they did with China when the Games were there.

  54. karmanot says:

    Yep, I’m flying with that Grey Goose. :-)

  55. karmanot says:

    Reading my mind!

  56. karmanot says:

    Damn right MF! ‘Freedom” piroshkis I say!

  57. karmanot says:

    ‘outlaying’ works for top or bottom. ‘Outlawing’ includes both

  58. karmanot says:

    Is tasting like durty moose in drainage watta, or road squirrel in moonshine.

  59. karmanot says:

    Thanks Jack. I can’t tell you how much that helps. Why, on my monthly Social Security allotment, I haven’t had Beluga in years. Next great idea?

  60. karmanot says:

    It is a pogrom and the first whiff of apartheid leading to genocidal laws like those of Nigeria.

  61. karmanot says:

    If GLTBQ designers go on strike, Mutha Russia will return to burlap for their national parade uniforms.

  62. karmanot says:

    That too, especially that.

  63. karmanot says:

    It will work! We brought Coors and Gallo to a standstill. We can do it again.

  64. DK says:

    BTW wikipedia has been updated again, it seems. Funny how that wikipedia works…

  65. Naja pallida says:

    Regardless of the issue of whether Stoli is a Russian company or an international corporation like most large beverage companies are… boycotting the very few commercial products that Russia sends to the US consumer isn’t going to do a damn thing besides make people feel like they’re doing something, when they’re really not. Well over 90% of Russia’s exports to the US is in raw materials: minerals, ores, etc. If we want to hit them where it hurts, we need to look to where the money actually is. Really though, the biggest thing coming up would be the Olympics, and we all know an outright US boycott isn’t going to happen, but that is no reason why we shouldn’t be making as much of a stink about it as we can, right up until the moment the closing ceremonies end.

  66. Harrold says:

    Hi Guys,


  67. Boycotting Vodka isn’t going to work. We need athletes, sponsors, etc. to all pull out of the Olympics entirely. Nothing else will work.

  68. jomicur says:

    I’m not a vodka drinker (I’m not a drinker at all), so boycotting Stoli would be redundant for me. And really, how much impact could boycotting one product, or a small handful of them, have?

    It seems to me that boycotting Russian products should be only part of our strategy. The Sochi Olympics have major sponsors ( Quite a few of them are either US companies or have substantial presence here. Those companies are likely to be much more sensitive to boycotts and to high-profile negative publicity than companies in Russia (or Latvia for that matter). We need to organize a campaign shaming them for their support of this horrible country (and, implicitly, its anti-gay laws). It’s probably too much to hope that HRC would spearhead such a campaign, but there are other groups equipped to do it. A fairly small group like Geeks Out managed to get the (negative) editorial attention of the NYT; others can do the same.

  69. Zorba says:

    Grey Goose, made in France (out of wheat), is superb. As is Ketel One, also made out of wheat, from the Netherlands. But they ain’t cheap!
    I tend to buy Tito’s Handmade, made in the US out of corn, and a lot cheaper (although it’s getting more expensive lately). Even cheaper, but still good, is Sobieski from Poland (made from rye). Perfectly good for vodka martinis, although I think Tito’s is better for on the rocks. With twist of lemon. ;-)

  70. John Bogeman says:

    How would I know that you have read that article as there is no mention of it in yours? To me, it seems that we are being presented with conflicting stories of what is and isn’t Russian vodka. I’m all for boycotts, but the link I posted to seemed very valid. If not, my mistake. I presented the link to you in case you were not aware of what else is being reported about Russia vodka. And, I feared that we might be calling for a boycott of a company that perhaps we shouldn’t. So, at this point, I see 2 different takes on what is and what isn’t Russian vodka and I don’t know which one is accurate.

  71. Jack says:

    I actually work in the liquor industry with a very pro LGBT rights brand that competes with Stoli. And, I can assure you that not a drop of Stoli in the US comes from Russia. The Stoli in Russia comes from Russia, but is not anyway owned by SPI. While SPI is owned by someone that is Russian, it is not a Russian owned brand!!!! No one is doing their homework. Yuri Schelfler, the owner if SPI, has had a arrest order out on him since Putin took office. There might not be a Russian alive that has less to do with the current government. Do some simple googling and look at the number of lawsuits and court cases by the Russian authority against SPI. If you want to attack something that is Russian, go after Russian Standard, Emperia, or Beluga. There is not a Swedish company that has bought SPI. No idea where you could be getting this from. This whole thing is discrediting your outrage, which is whole right, by not knowing the facts of what you are boycotting.

  72. BeccaM says:

    Most of all, I appreciate how Harvey Fierstein identified this tactic for what it is: Nazi-style scapegoating.

    There is a price to be paid for tolerating intolerance, and it’s usually accounted in blood.

  73. Whitewitch says:

    I always assume you did your research John. May I query though – “in essence outlaying anything gay”….outlawing?

  74. Whitewitch says:

    Grey Goose on the rocks, or a martini (shaken not stirred) are my preferences. Although a nice Cosmo once in a while can be thrilling.

  75. FLL says:

    In a reply below, I said that SPI, the company that bottles Stoli for international distribution, is Russian-owned. The fact that Stoli is Russian-owned is beyond dispute, and that fact, in and of itself, would justify a boycott. After reading the Dan Savage article that John links to, I’m not really sure whether Stoli is still bottled in Latvia (rather than Russia), or whether it will continue to be bottled in Latvia rather than Russia after the first of the year, when SPI will start to handle their own distribution of Stoli in the U.S. Does anyone know? Not that the location of its bottling facilities (as opposed to its ownership) would remove the reason for the boycott.

  76. nicho says:

    A frequent-guest card for the sauna is not really a “gay card,” no matter what they tell you.

  77. nicho says:

    See my comment below. Coors was one of the exceptions — because the unions and the bar managers participated. Had it been left up to bar customers, the boycott would have been as much of a failure as one of the hundreds of right-wing Christian boycotts.

  78. Monoceros Forth says:

    is that semi-trustworthy source Wikipedia, by chance?

    I daresay that was implicit in my comment. I don’t care much for Wikipedia even at the best of times but I really don’t give enough of a f–k to research the matter properly. I don’t even like vodka. But, anyway, if you want to do the equivalent of Republicans’ clamoring for a boycott on French wine in 2003, go right ahead. Knock yourself out. And for God’s sake try to put the non-Stoli vodka in something a bit more challenging than a Cosmo.

  79. Chris Ryan says:

    Coors disagrees.

  80. nicho says:

    But it’s Russian-owned.

  81. Chris Ryan says:

    I think supporting vodkas that support us would be the right step– Absolut and Finlandia come to mind.

  82. nicho says:

    Yes, because Poland is such a welcoming place for gays.

  83. Bill Yohpe says:

    Tried Monopolowa.
    Made with potatoes.
    Did not like

  84. nicho says:

    If boycotting makes you feel better, do it — but the Russians would never notice if the handful of gays who drink Stoli stop drinking it.

    Two notable boycotts worked — grapes and the boycott of Coors by the gay community. But even the Coors boycott worked only because unions and the gay bar managers were on board. Today, many gays drink in mainstream, rather than gay, bars. Many more skip the bars altogether and rely on Grindr, Scruff, Manhunt, and Adam4Adam for a faux social life.

  85. Indigo says:

    They still issue gay cards?

  86. Indigo says:

    I’m more comfortable with boycotts for a worthy cause than I am with hunger fasts. But as far the matter of whether they work or not, I’m not sure how to measure outcomes. I doubt any boycott actually forces system change but every boycott attracts attention and, provided enough public sympathy, generates awareness and reputation. Vodka is associated with Russian culture. Contemporary Russian culture is associating itself with rabid gay-bating and systematic homophobia.

    This is a convenient time to work on generating international cultural disgust with Russia. Boycotting vodka is a start. If Stolni operates out of Latvia and is Russian owned, then it’s a fulcrum to annoy Latvians and Russian owners. Let them take their losses and learn that homophobic government policies are unacceptable. Maybe, like Chick-fil-a in the States, they’ll just foam at the mouth but that, too, is progress because now we know who the homophobes are. Then again, maybe one of them, sufficiently annoyed, will have a private chat with physique model Putin and he’ll ratchet the nonsense down a tad or two.

  87. nymanon says:

    Monopolowa is an excellent, affordable vodka that is produced in Poland, not Russia. Just saying…

  88. DK says:

    is that semi-trustworthy source Wikipedia, by chance? That info has been added/re-updated numerous times in the last day, by whom one wonders.

    At the end of the day it’s a Russian company, and there are few countries in this world where corporations don’t hold an enormous political influence, I highly doubt Russia is any different.

  89. Jack says:

    Stoli is not made in Russia!!!!! Putin and the owner of Stoli are fierce rivals and ditest each other. Yuri, the owner of Stoli now makes the vodka in Latvia, not Russia. Do your home work before you boycott the wrong vodka.

  90. Please dont assume i didnt already do it. Read the Dan Savage piece I linked to that already answers your question :-)

  91. FLL says:

    I believe the information on the Internet verifies that while Stoli is bottled in Latvia, the company that bottles Stoli, SPI, is indeed Russian-owned.

  92. nicho says:

    Boycotts rarely work and when they do, it’s because unions get involved — which is why it’s important for the corporatocracy that they destroy unions.

  93. Monoceros Forth says:

    Hm. Seems you have a point. From the source of all semi-trustworthy information:

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

    Also a curiously telling passage:

    Stolichnaya’s chief rival Russian Standard Vodka aroused controversy when it questioned Stolichnaya’s Russian authenticity, due to the elongated distribution and ownership chain. Pernod Ricard responded by insisting that it is an authentic Russian vodka, as nothing is added or removed during the bottling.

  94. Julien Pierre says:

    Do I lose my gay card if I never heard of Stoli ?

    I will be glad to (continue to) boycott them, though. I just wonder how effective that will be.

  95. Monoceros Forth says:

    The only reason I ever buy vodka is because my partner won’t drink wine, the half-civilized Philistine. Nor will he drink whisky! What’s the point of drinking at all if you like is ethyl alcohol diluted with fruit juice? Wait, what were we talking about?

  96. Indigo says:


  97. Irresponsible says:

    I was always more an Absolut guy anyway.

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