Two excellent articles from the Russian media on the gay Stoli boycott




I  just read two surprisingly good articles on the gay boycott of Russia, and particularly vodka (especially Stolichnaya), by RIA Novosti, a state-owned news agency in, of all places, Russia.

The first is about the gay boycott of vodka/Stoli generally, and the second is about Stolichnaya’s odd effort to distance itself from its Russian roots (ties the company has been bragging about for years).

As you likely know, Russia is facing a growing international boycott over the Putin government’s brutal crackdown on gay and trans people in the country.  A new law was recently passed in Russia banning anything pro-gay – including speech, or even clothing (they actually arrested someone for wearing rainbow suspenders).  Concomitant with the new law, violence against gay and trans people in the country has increased markedly, and many think the violence is either condoned, or even fomented, by the Russian authorities.

Things have gotten so bad in the country that there are now anti-gay gangs who go on to gay social media sites in order to lure young gay teens who are then kidnapped and beaten, on camera.  The film is then published on a Russian social media site.  And even though the perpetrators’ faces, and town, are clearly evident, the Russian authorities reportedly don’t lift a finger to stop it.

Russian vigilantes show off a young gay boy they claim to have abducted and then doused with urine after entrapping him via a gay social media site.

Russian vigilantes show off a young gay boy they claim to have abducted and then doused with urine after entrapping him via a gay social media site.

As a result of the culture of lawlessness now increasingly gripping Russia, concerns have skyrocketed about the safety of Olympic athletes and guests during next year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.  Just yesterday, a Russian lawmaker said that Olympic athletes and visitors would be subject to arrest under the draconian new law.  And we now know they’ll also be subject to Russia’s new anti-gay vigilante “police” as well.

Russian vigilantes kidnap and attack a young gay Russian they first stalked on a local social media site.

Russian vigilantes kidnap and attack a young gay Russian they first stalked on a local social media site.

Back to RIA Novosti and the two articles I mention above.  I realize that my praise might get some RIA Novosti reporter sent to a gulag, but I’m seriously impressed at how fair, and professional, their journalists are being with this topic.

It wasn’t long ago that Russian state-run media was part of the larger Soviet propaganda machine.  And they were vicious liars.  I’ve often felt that Fox News in the US, and the larger right-wing noise machine in our country, copied, intentionally or not, the Soviet model.

The Soviets were expert at building a huge network of disinformation operatives, and then using that network to turns lies into truth.  One favorite tactic of the Sovs was to get a little-known paper in, say, Africa to write some absurd lie about the West (that we were harvesting the organs of children was always a favorite), then Pravda or Radio Moscow back in the motherland would repeat the story, and simply cite the African newspaper as the source.  After all, the state-run Soviet press wasn’t actually lying – it was a real story, in Africa – and the Soviet media was simply repeating someone else’s news, thus giving the lie a veneer of credibility and authenticity.  The Soviets really did excel at evil.

Then there’s the publication and network “Russia Today,” which recently changed its name to RT (I suspect in order to hide the word “Russia” from its title).  Russia Today excels at hating America.  Anyone familiar with Soviet propaganda techniques will recognize the familiar stench of the old ways in RT’s new reportage.  Pretty much everything they write about America portrays our country in a seriously negative light – EVERYTHING.

One need not ask where RT is getting its orders from.  Whereas RIA Novosti’s orders seem to come from the truth, and actual journalism.

ria-novosti-caveat russia gay stoliOne final observation that’s particularly disturbing.  As a result of the new anti-gay law, RIA Novosti has been forced to issue a caveat before all of its new stories about “gays.”  It amounts to a journalistic child-safety warning, and smacks of the official censorship of the Soviet era (Russian President Putin, by the way, is former KGB).

One more reason why anyone concerned about human rights should be supporting the international boycott of Russia. #dumpstoli


CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | 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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