Boycotts 101: Why the gay boycott of Russian vodka is already working

While there’s been a rather massive explosion of support in the past five days for a boycott of all things Russia, especially vodka (and especially Stolichnaya, aka Stoli), some have asked about the wisdom of targeting Stoli, vodka, or Russian products at all, let alone the wisdom of boycotts.

Call this post: Boycotts 101.

First a little background…

As most of you know, over the past few years the Russian government has severely clamped down on its gay and trans communities. In addition to increasing violence, coordinated by far-right “thugs” thought by many to be in cahoots with the Russia authorities, the Russian parliament, with the help of President Vladimir Putin, has been taking a series of anti-gay and anti-trans actions.

Those actions include blocking adoptions of Russian children by any country that recognizes marriage equality for gay couples.  Concern grew even further with the recent passage of a law that basically makes anything and everything gay, and pro-gay, in Russia illegal.  Even uttering words believed to be pro-gay are illegal, and wearing anything perceived to be pro-gay is also against the law (someone was actually arrested for wearing rainbow suspenders).

Worse yet, the new Russian law specifically targets pro-gay foreigners, and threatens to jail them for 14 days before kicking them out of the country.  Under the Russian law, foreign companies that offer any kind of same-sex benefits, even simply having a corporate non-discrimination policy that recognizes the rights of gay and trans employees, could now be breaking the law in Russia, and both the employer and employee could face imprisonment, or the simpler Russian way of enforcing the law, simply beating the crap out of, or disappearing, everyone involved.

Russian anti-gay thugs kick an LGBT rights activist. (Photo by Ilya Varlamov, with permission)

Russian anti-gay thugs kick an LGBT rights activist. (Photo by Ilya Varlamov, with permission)

The same man, after the beating:

Russian anti-gay thugs kick an LGBT rights activist. (Photo by Ilya Varlamov, with permission)

Russian anti-gay thugs kick an LGBT rights activist. (Photo by Ilya Varlamov, with permission)

There are also concerns about the safety of athletes and attendees at next year’s Sochi, Russia Winter Olympics, as the brutal beating of gay and trans people in Russia, with the wink and nod of the authorities, is sharply on the rise.

And while the International Olympic Committee claims, oddly, to have brokered a deal with the Russian government that Olympic athletes and visitors “may” be held harmless from Russia’s anti-gay laws, it’s not entirely clear how local skinheads, following the presumed orders of local Russian officials, are going to discern between Russian gays, who are fair game to beat the cr*p out, and Olympic gays, who are not.

Perhaps the IOC can assign pink triangles to the athletes in question.

Gays in Nazi Germany were considered a threat to German purity. The Nazis arrested 100,000 men, with 10,000 to 15,000 sent to concentration camps to die.

Gays in Nazi Germany were considered a threat to German purity. The Nazis arrested 100,000 men, with 10,000 to 15,000 sent to concentration camps to die.

In response, a boycott was born.

Boycotts don’t work. Unless they do.

As a rule, boycotts are a bad idea because they don’t work.

Until they do work.

Then they’re a great idea.

When a group of us targeted “Dr.” Laura Schlessinger in 2000 with our StopDrLaura.com campaign (the group include me, Mike Signorile, Alan Klein, Robin Tyler, William Waybourn, Joel Lawson and many others ), we went after the advertisers for her then-upcoming TV show, and we ended being wildly successful, scaring off nearly 200 advertisers, and eventually killing the show.

stopdrlaura

And while I wasn’t pleased that they never went in for the metaphorical-kill, the boycott of Rush Limbaugh’s advertisers a few years back was also quite successful, and is still causing him serious pain.  (My gripe with that effort was that the organizational leaders backing the boycott never took it seriously, IMHO, never put up the money and staffing necessary for making it truly effective, and thus they Limbaugh slip away when we could have dealt his show a metaphorical-death-blow.)

But both instances show that, when well done, and done at the right time against the right target, boycotts can work, depending on how you define “work.”

The problem however is that too many people yell “boycott” when neither the time nor the target is right.  Their boycott then doesn’t even make a dent, and thus our cause looks feckless.  So boycotts themselves aren’t necessarily a bad idea. Rather, flippantly calling for a boycott at every drop of a hat is a bad idea.

What’s the goal of a boycott?

Some have suggested that boycotting Russian vodka is ineffective as we won’t be able to make a big enough dent in any one company, and the companies involved won’t do anything real to try to influence Russian leaders.

And maybe that’s all true, but the point of a boycott isn’t always the boycott itself.  People often lose sight of that simple organizing fact.  My goal in this campaign is to make clear to countries that homophobia is not okay, and that they will pay a severe price for oppressing their gay and trans citizens.  And that goal can be accomplished whether or not Stoli or any other Russian brand loses a lot of, or “enough,” (or any) money.

LuLu's in Palm Spring, California. A straight, but not narrow, establishment.

LuLu’s in Palm Spring, California. A straight, but not narrow, establishment.

Rather, the boycott is a tool – a foil, really – to foment and galvanize public ire in a way that generates publicity and eventually harms the brand of the ultimate target, in this case Brand Russia.

If the damage to the brands of tactical targets like Stoli, Russian products generally, individual governments around the world, and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) becomes so extensive, pervasive, and unceasing, they will be forced to help us pressure the most important brand of all, Brand Russia and its leaders in parliament and the Kremlin, to make permanent change on this issue – if for no other reason than to simply make us all just go away.

It’s a multi-front psychological war, really.  You’re trying to throw as much at the enemy as you can, from all directions (caveat: without watering down your assault by overextending yourself or your message), in order to make them finally admit, even if just to themselves, that it simply was not worth the price they are paying for having taken you on.  And hopefully, once burned, twice shy.

Is the Vodka / Stoli boycott working?

Hell yeah.

This issue has been bubbling up for a few years now, but it hasn’t really gone anywhere, in terms of true widespread international support from the grassroots and the media, until just a week or so ago.  Why?  Because Harvey Fierstein penned a piece in the NYT, Matt Stopera at Buzzfeed assembled 36 killer (literally) photos of gay and trans people in Russia being brutally beaten, and Dan Savage pulled all the strings together into a call for a boycott of Russian vodka.

Wayla-bar-toronto-stoli-bar

That’s when the dams burst, the floodgates opened, and the world suddenly cared – really cared – about the plight of gay and trans people in Russia.  Bars across America, Canada, Australia and Europe started dropping Russian vodka, gay and trans people and our allies across the globe got enraged and engaged, and the international media suddenly found a hot new story that they’re stumbling over each other to report on.

hi-tops-bar

The grand impact of all of that?  More pressure on Brands B (Stoli, Russian vodka, Russian goods, foreign governments and the IOC), and ultimately more pressure on Brand A (Brand Russia).

The very fact that this issue was ignored for years, and now is a page one story worldwide, is proof that the Stoli boycott “worked.”  At least “worked” for Stage 1, galvanizing the public and the media.  Now we have to fight Stage 2 simultaneously, channeling that growing ire towards positive change.

It also doesn’t hurt see other vodka brands jumping in on the boycott as an opportunity – that only feeds the flames that much more:

skyy-vodka-russia-boycott

What about the naysayers?

In my twenty years of national (and international) gay rights advocacy, I’ve learned that the naysayers are part of the job.  Any time you launch a campaign, someone will always know better than you, they’ll always undercut the effort, claim it to be a bad idea, misdirected, ineffective, and even counterproductive.

That is, until you start winning.  Then they’re your biggest fan :)

But in all seriousness, a lot of people need advocacy to be proven to them, they need to see it in action to realize that it can work if done wisely.  And many of the naysayers are simply people who don’t know any better because they’ve never experienced anything better.  And part of the blame goes to all the failed “boycotts” that have made “boycott” a bad word.

But some are saying that we should be targeting anti-gay members of the Russian parliament instead of vodka?  What about that?

Well, we’ve just spent two years talking about how anti-gay Russian government officials are, and it got us bupkiss until Dan Savage came up with the idea of targeting Stoli.  You just can’t launch a campaign that’s going to inspire the masses in America, or likely anywhere else, that focuses on four no-name Russian legislators that no one has ever heard of.  People need a clear and easy target of opportunity, and that, more often than not, is a company, and not some previously-unheard-of foreign member of parliament 5,000 miles away.

That’s not to say that we shouldn’t eventually try to expand our targets to more companies, and eventually target the worst of the worst of the Russian government.  I’m all for my country refusing entry visas to those parliamentarians, should they ever try to visit the US.  But the American people aren’t going to rally around that cause, and the US government isn’t going to listen to anyone promoting that specific course of action, until and unless we generate enough ire, domestically and internationally.  And currently, the only game in town that’s generating the necessary fire and brimstone is the Russian vodka boycott.  That doesn’t mean we don’t branch out at some point – but it does mean that we don’t give up the best thing we got. 

Where do we go from here?

Stay tuned.  This thing has only begun.  But for a movement that’s really only existed for 5 days – and I don’t mean local activists, they’ve been fighting this for years, I mean a true international grassroots movement energized and angry over the treatment of gays and trans people in Russia – getting a huge feature story in the Associated Press isn’t nothin’.

This boycott has begun as well as any boycott could, and really far better than even I expected.  And now that we have nearly two dozen of Russia’s top LGBT activists on board the international boycott effort, I expect things to get even more interesting.  It’s been a fine five days.  I’m looking forward to many more.

#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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363 Responses to “Boycotts 101: Why the gay boycott of Russian vodka is already working”

  1. SCRIBBLES_SCRIBBLES, ADD says:

    Those are kids beating on an adult while other adults are present. This shows nothing. This is turning into racism. FYI. We need to not blow this out of proportion. I’m not biased. I do not put my nose into others business unless it looks violent. This is just violence from some kids. If it were the adults doing anything that would be worse. This is out of context. Who knows what the LGBT guy was up to. If he’s bugging the anti gay people he will probably face consequences, just as if a anti gay went to a LGBT and talked smack. I have no opinion on politics. This could be phoney alwell. Don’t listen to me. Just giving some insight from a by stander net surfer.

    -chow… LIVE LONG LOVE HARD WORK HAPPY

  2. Mark says:

    In the Second war 1944 Stalingrad. Russians fight against the Nazi´s, they call them facists. And what happens now in 2013 after the war? Why a lot of russians are now being facists. See what they do against gay people. The same what happens against the juwish and others and see now. The past about Stallingrad the russian nothing lurns about it. So we have to fight and say to the Russians, no More History 1944, facsist. Stop the facists !!!

  3. Kaalee83 says:

    Okay this has plenty of flaws. First of all have you even done your research? Because if you have you’d know that Stoli is a firm believer of LGBT rights. In 2006 they funded a tv show on LOGO called Be Real: Stories from Queer America, and currently have two exclusive national partnerships with Gaycities.com and Queerty.com to find the Most Original Stoli Guy. They support the Durban Gay Pride initiative in South Africa, the Pride Parade in Vienna. They are in cooperation with HOSA and CT which are the two biggest LGBT communities in Australia and were part of the Tel Aviv Pride Parade. Further more the Russian government does not own any part of Stoli…it’s privately owned by the SPI group which headquarters are in Luxemburg! They get their ingredients and they process it in Russia that is true but the only thing you’re doing if you boycott Stoli is putting those people, who’s rights are already getting taken away, into unemployment. So next time you go to boycott something…make sure it’s for a good reason.

  4. Moderator3 says:

    If you post the same comment repeatedly, the DISQUS system may consider it spamming. If it were to be marked as spam, the system will automatically ban you from the site.

    There is no way that we could block you from responding back to someone. Obviously, since you were able to respond to me.

  5. br says:

    The plugin wasn’t posting. The comment still isn’t visible. And why are
    you blocking people from responding to comments back at them?

  6. Moderator3 says:

    Please do not post the same entry more than once.

  7. br says:

    Yes, they purchase ingredients grown in Russia to make their product. That doesn’t mean they are a Russian product. That is like suggesting your iPod is a product of South Africa simply because that is where some of the raw materials are sourced. Component materials are sourced from several locations for any one product. But that doesn’t change the nationality of the product brand.

    And NO, SPI has no operations in Russia. SPI is based in Luxembourg. They have holdings all over the world. The company SPI Group was created after a legal dispute with the Russian government over the original company’s ownership and holdings. It was that dispute that lead to the creation of SPI Group and its move out of Russia. That is also why there are two distinct versions of the Stoli brand: one inside Russia (not SPI Group) and one outside Russia (by SPI Group).

    They do not grow any grains or rye — they source it. And they source it from the same place they always have so that the integrity of the product remains the same. That doesn’t mean the company’s tax revenue goes to Russia.

    Sure, perhaps some small sales tax goes to Russia for the purchase of raw ingredients — so what? Are you going to target every single company that sources raw materials from Russia? Russia is one of the world’s largest exporters in Europe of raw and component materials. They export crude oil, minerals, gas, and metals. Are you going to chase every single product down that is comprised of any component material coming out of Russia? Don’t be absurd.

    The fact is that SPI Group is NOT Russian. Their profits go to a Luxembourg-based company. They pay corporate tax in Luxembourg, Latvia, and the United States (for their North American distribution). They pay no corporate tax in Russia. Those are the facts that should have been addressed before the ridiculous boycott directed towards them. Oh, and the fact that they donate funds to and participate in LGBT efforts around the world… But yea, let’s be concerned where they source component materials of their product…

  8. br says:

    Yes, they purchase ingredients grown in Russia to make their product. That doesn’t mean they are a Russian product. That is like suggesting your iPod is a product of South Africa simply because that is where some of the raw materials are sourced. Component materials are sourced from several locations for any one product. But that doesn’t change the nationality of the product brand.

    And NO, SPI has no operations in Russia. SPI is based in Luxembourg. They have holdings all over the world. The company SPI Group was created after a legal dispute with the Russian government over the original company’s ownership and holdings. It was that dispute that lead to the creation of SPI Group and its move out of Russia. That is also why there are two distinct versions of the Stoli brand: one inside Russia (not SPI Group) and one outside Russia (by SPI Group).

    They do not grow any grains or rye — they source it. And they source it from the same place they always have so that the integrity of the product remains the same. That doesn’t mean the company’s tax revenue goes to Russia.

    Sure, perhaps some small sales tax goes to Russia for the purchase of raw ingredients — so what? Are you going to target every single company that sources raw materials from Russia? Russia is one of the world’s largest exporters in Europe of raw and component materials. They export crude oil, minerals, gas, and metals. Are you going to chase every single product down that is comprised of any component material coming out of Russia? Don’t be absurd.

    The fact is that SPI Group is NOT Russian. Their profits go to a Luxembourg-based company. They pay corporate tax in Luxembourg, Latvia, and the United States (for their North American distribution). They pay no corporate tax in Russia. Those are the facts that should have been addressed before the ridiculous boycott directed towards them. Oh, and the fact that they donate funds to and participate in LGBT efforts around the world… But yea, let’s be concerned where they source component materials of their product…

  9. br says:

    Yes, they purchase ingredients grown in Russia to make their product. That doesn’t mean they are a Russian product. That is like suggesting your iPod is a product of South Africa simply because that is where some of the raw materials are sourced. Component materials are sourced from several locations for any one product. But that doesn’t change the nationality of the product brand.

    And NO, SPI has no operations in Russia. SPI is based in Luxembourg. They have holdings all over the world. The company SPI Group was created after a legal dispute with the Russian government over the original company’s ownership and holdings. It was that dispute that lead to the creation of SPI Group and its move out of Russia. That is also why there are two distinct versions of the Stoli brand: one inside Russia (not SPI Group) and one outside Russia (by SPI Group).

    They do not grow any grains or rye — they source it. And they source it from the same place they always have so that the integrity of the product remains the same. That doesn’t mean the company’s tax revenue goes to Russia.

    Sure, perhaps some small sales tax goes to Russia for the purchase of raw ingredients — so what? Are you going to target every single company that sources raw materials from Russia? Russia is one of the world’s largest exporters in Europe of raw and component materials. They export crude oil, minerals, gas, and metals. Are you going to chase every single product down that is comprised of any component material coming out of Russia? Don’t be absurd.

    The fact is that SPI Group is NOT Russian. Their profits go to a Luxembourg-based company. They pay corporate tax in Luxembourg, Latvia, and the United States (for their North American distribution). They pay no corporate tax in Russia. Those are the facts that should have been addressed before the ridiculous boycott directed towards them. Oh, and the fact that they donate funds to and participate in LGBT efforts around the world… But yea, let’s be concerned where they source component materials of their product…

  10. shawnthesheep says:

    Read SPI’s own statements on the subject, genius. They say that Stoli is made from grain, rye and raw alcohol from Russia that is distilled and bottled in Latvia. A company that grows, harvests and transports grain and rye and makes raw alcohol in Russia doesn’t pay Russian taxes? That’s a neat trick. SPI has extensive operations in Russia, so of course they pay Russian taxes.

  11. Brandon says:

    Their bottles haven’t said that in years. All bottles sold outside Russia state “PREMIUM VODKA” — not “RUSSIAN VODKA” because they aren’t made in Russia any longer! It is an entirely different company. SPI is based in Luxembourg, with facilities in Latvia. They are NOT Russian. They haven’t been for years. No piece of any of their profits goes to Russia. They pay no Russian taxes. Get a clue!

  12. Brandon says:

    “Irrelevant arguments” you say? How is the fact that Stoli is NOT a Russian product somehow irrelevant to a boycott that is meant to target Russian products so as to send a message to the Russian government that their treatment of LGBT citizens is wrong? That is like telling Americans to stop buying Kia automobiles to protest Japan’s whaling industry.

    A Stoli boycott, the brand being primarily targeted, IS NOT RUSSIAN! The fact that it got on the news only highlights the cluelessness of those who started it. It is certainly NOT irrelevant. Furthermore, it targets a company that has been an ally to the LGBT community. Calling these FACTS irrelevant is beyond absurd.

  13. Brandon says:

    What exactly is that supposed to mean?

  14. Lance VanOvermeiren says:

    go scratch Brandon

  15. 100_people says:

    This boycott was so ill-conceived, that’s the problem. Dan Savage didn’t even realize that Stoli wasn’t a Russian-based company when he started this. Then when he found out, it became enough to say “well, they do some of their production in Russia.” Well if that is the standard, then every foreign company that does business in Russia should be targeted. Coca-Cola does bottling in Russia — just one example. Why single out one particular company for a boycott? It makes no sense. It is pure scapegoating.

    Since when is scapegoating considering fair and good? There are other ways to call attention to this issue without attacking one particular company — a company that itself is pro-gay, I might add.

  16. Matt says:

    Lol can’t possibly believe a boycott on Russian vodka would do anything expect hurt the vodka company’s lol it’s pretty sad.. Any would believe that it would work the gay community is so butt hurt (no pun intended)

  17. runfastandwin says:

    Nah, I don’t believe in angry letters, unless they come from some crazy religious fundalooons upset about cursing or skin (think Ned Flanders) the networks could care less. The only things I watch on NBC is Sunday Night Football and I can get that online (with a VIP from another country) and the Tour de France (which is over) so hopefully I can avoid NBC altogether by the time the Olympics rolls around.

  18. emjayay says:

    And that was the point of John’s post.

  19. emjayay says:

    Right, if the Russian government doesn’t resign a week after some guys poured some vodka out in New York City, the boycott didn’t work. Russia is a major supplier of magnesium. Should we boycott magnesium. Russia has rockets that can supply the space station. Should we stop supplying the space station?

  20. emjayay says:

    So, you unplug the TV and send an angry letter to NBC?

  21. emjayay says:

    Here’s one of those naysayers, with irrelevant arguements. Read the post. A Stoli boycott does not preclude any and all other measures. It did however get on the news everywhere.

  22. Wisconsin Gazette says:

    For more on the Stoli Vodka Dump and it’s affect on local Wisconsin establishments – check out WiG’s “Message in a Bottle” story here- http://bit.ly/14sRsV3

  23. Kate says:

    Stoli isn’t Russian vodka. it was originally made in russia but was sold years ago and is now owned by a Dutch company and is produced in Latvia. It’s good to fact-check these things before promoting a boycott. I think the most effective thing would be to put pressure on NBC and their advertisers. NBC will be televising the Olympic games. The LGBT community and it’s allies should let them know how we feel about that fact!

  24. Berta Jiggins says:

    I believe that their boycotting ploy is effective and caught the attention of many consumers.
    _________________________________________________________________________________

    迷你倉

  25. adamj2013 says:

    I’m waiting for NOM to start a “Toast A Natural Marriage With Russian Vodka” campaign. One Man, One Woman, One Gulag.

  26. Tara Crowley says:

    do the research, it’s all out there on the internet. i’m surprised such intelligent high profile activists are urging the Stoli boycott. I researched it a few years ago when the issue first came up, and found that it is NOT a Russian vodka. I’m embarrassed that our community is jumping on this bandwagon.

  27. danolgb says:

    “who make the laws in most places” – Russia doesn’t appear to be one of those places since the rich person in question is living outside of Russia with an arrest warrant hanging over his head.

  28. danolgb says:

    One thing to note about the bus boycott is the only people that actually sacrificed in that were the people that boycotted. They boycotted a public entity which they were subsidizing anyway. And while it was an incredible show of solidarity, the end of the bus boycott came when SCOTUS ruled. Boycotting a vodka that nobody apparently likes isn’t much of a sacrifice. If people expect to be taken seriously, they have to show they’re willing to give of themselves to do so. I think you know this first hand as you do that all the time.

  29. danolgb says:

    Love you Bennett! Tell your “sister” hi!

  30. danolgb says:

    Here’s the message the Stoli boycott is sending to other companies that help fund our organizations: “We will turn on you based on tenuous ties for things over which you have no control.” Why would a company want to support a community that so easily and idiotically turns on them? If I were providing funds for a gay organization, I would now think twice about it. People brush this off as merely marketing, but notice how John glorifies Svedka’s marketing. Many small organizations depend on this marketing. Are you willing to make up the difference?

  31. Brandon says:

    And the “what you won’t find” statement doesn’t carry any qualifier. The letter was posted on 7/25. The story you referenced was posted on 8/2. This is exactly what I’m talking about. The information is out there, but idiots continue to put blatantly false information out there to perpetuate the story and carry this ill-conceived boycott further, damaging a company’s reputation for no reason whatsoever.

    And why exactly would the CEO of SPI post the letter before the boycott? The letter is in response to the boycott. Helllllllo? “Um yea, here is a letter about how our company is actually not Russian and how we donate and participate in LGBT efforts worldwide — you know, just in case someone ever decides that they might want to orchestrate a boycott against us because they incorrectly think we’re a Russian-based company and that this will somehow send a message to the Russian government which we have nothing to do with…” Yea, that makes sense!

  32. Brandon says:

    Again, you’re reading a single line — not the entire Overview on their website. Jump the gun much? Read the entire statement.

    The objective is noble. The execution is abysmal. People perpetuating it are worse.

    And yes, climate change denier. Despite all the information out there outlining the facts about this company, people like you either ignore the facts or excuse the mistakes. You continue pushing for the boycott despite the fact that the majority of the public has latched onto the initial target: Stoli.

    Typically I’m pretty moderate with my language, but when people continue throwing misinformation and are completely obstinate despite facts being outlined for them, it is pretty irritating. The LGBT community has enough faux-facts being flung around trying to point out the “sins” and persnickety needs for equality, when people start ill-conceived boycotts at the behest of the LGBT community, it only fuels those fires from the opposition. So forgive me if I come off a bit irritated, I am.

    You know what would be a far better target than Russian exported libations? The Olympics and Olympic advertisers. Millions of dollars are flooding into Russia for these Olympics. Millions are being spent by American companies to advertise during these games. I find an American company making the choice to partake in this to be far more egregious than a company trying to sell their products which happens to be from Russia.

  33. FlyingP4dre says:

    I know what an opinion is, thanks.

    I’m not going to harp on this, but I’m assuming you finally read the part about “the biggest exporter of Russian vodka in the world.” You have to admit that for a company that you say has nothing to do with Russian commerce, their website is awfully misleading.

    The “what you won’t find” statement is not incorrect as it carries the qualifier “prior to the boycott.” (7/25 was not before the boycott started)

    Before you showed up here, I stated multiple times that the CLEAR objective of the campaign is to target Russian made products and that it’s unfortunate that there was mis-targeting in the campaign. So, give me a break. If the information is wrong that doesn’t mean the campaign should be destroyed (that would be moronic), it means the information should be corrected.

    Climate change denier? How’s the weather out there in left field?

    Pro tip: You might be more interesting to debate with if you try to censor some of your own insulting language. That really won’t go over well with most people trying to understand your perspective.

  34. Brandon says:

    It is clear to anyone with half a brain that this is a Russian commercial. And anyone familiar with the product knows there are two distinct brands. I don’t drink it, and I knew. Not hard. If you’re organizing a boycott, you should have the wherewithal to know what company you’re trying to target and why!

  35. Brandon says:

    The only people that are easily confused are people who jump on bandwagons without doing any research. The laziest form of activism. I am not a big drinker. I don’t even care for Stoli, but I looked into the product before championing this absurd cause.

  36. Brandon says:

    Buddy, you missed the entire first half of the paragraph. “Formerly state-owned” — and yes, Stoli is still considered a Russian Vodka, yet it is not produced in Russia! A person who is born in the US, but whose roots trace back to Russia, still calls themselves Russian. Keep reading the rest of the overview instead of plucking a tiny statement alluding to the history of the product.

    As for the blog you cite as a credible source of information, it is not. It is one person’s OPINION. The Stoli brand, the one improperly targeted by this absurd boycott, uses a single facility within Russia. They do source materials from Russia.

    And under the “what won’t you find” statement — it is all incorrect. SPI has a letter written from the CEO, posted on 7/25, outlining the company’s position against Russian policies and their continued contribution and support for LGBT efforts. It is right on the home page of the company website.

    Simply put, this boycott was started by people who couldn’t find their ass with two hands and a map. The idea? Great. The target? Moronic. People like you championing it despite credible information showing its flaws? Worse. You’re like a climate change denier.

  37. FlyingP4dre says:

    The point was that people could be confused. Duh! Keep that dollar, you’re gonna need it.

  38. FlyingP4dre says:

    I didn’t make that up. Go to the SPI website http://www.spi-group.com/about-spi-group. Then, read those exact words with your own eyeballs.

    After that, read this. It’s a response to people with your concerns:
    http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2013/08/02/on-boycotting-stoli

  39. FlyingP4dre says:

    Sure, but this has mostly been corrected since the campaign started. The momentum is what matters now.

  40. FlyingP4dre says:

    I posted that as an example of why people might be confused. Duh!

  41. Brandon says:

    So, under your logic, a police officer who shoots the wrong black man, but makes folks believe he shot a murderer, is doing a service because in the end his community feels safer as they believe a murderer is off the street? That is what you’re advocating.

    Never mind that pesky “justice” thing or the fact that a company is incorrectly targeted for something they have nothing to do with and they actually donate and particulate heavily in LGBT efforts? At a certain point, the cost for that message is far too high. And we’re at that point.

  42. Brandon says:

    Fucking moron. That is a commercial for the Russian Stolichnaya, not the product available for sale outside of Russia. Seriously. Give me your address so I can send you a dollar and you can buy a fucking clue.

  43. Brandon says:

    A well-meaning campaign that outwardly targets the TOTALLY WRONG BUSINESS. That is like saying the police officer who shot the wrong black man was well-intentioned because the real guy he meant to target was black too. Your assertion is moronic at best.

  44. Brandon says:

    It is only misleading to morons who choose to leap before looking. People who jump on bandwagons for these half-hearted boycotts should be slapped in the face with a Russian-made dildo.

  45. Brandon says:

    This is a commercial for the Russian version of the vodka! It is in Russian. It is an entirely different company than the version available for sale outside of Russia by SPI Group! The easiest way to tell the difference is that SPI’s Stoli bottles do not say “Russian Vodka” at the bottom, they say “Premium Vodka” and have been labeled this way for years!

  46. Brandon says:

    Stoli is NOT a Russian product. Their website doesn’t say “the world’s biggest exporter of Russian vodka” anywhere. You made that up. The company is based in Luxembourg. The Stoli product line is primarily made in Latvia. There are two different Stolichnaya vodkas — the one within Russia, and the one the rest of the world knows and purchases. This is as a result of a legal battle between the company owners and the Russian government over 10 years ago. The product this boycott targets is the non-Russian version, owned by a company that frequently donates and partakes in many LGBT causes around the world.

    The spirit of the boycott is moronic as the folks dreaming it up couldn’t be bothered to go after the right company or find a product that is actually based in Russia. It has NO effect on Russian policies as it doesn’t target a Russian company. Seriously, do people not understand this basic concept? Do your homework and target the right companies! This makes every LGBT person look beyond absurd.

  47. Brandon says:

    He doesn’t know what he is talking about. They aren’t a Russian company. Just another well-intentioned but fact-deficient person who thinks slacktivism works.

  48. Brandon says:

    Francis, I’m sorry that you’re wrong. Stoli is owned by SPI Group which is headquartered in Luxembourg and with most of its distilling and bottling in Riga, Latvia. The brand only has the right to sell the Stolichnaya brand outside of Russia, as the Russian government claims ownership of the brand within their borders — the Russian government has NOTHING to do with the Stoli products outside their borders. It was for this reason that the company was moved out of Russia over 10 years ago. They do still use Russian ingredients, that is the extent of their involvement with Russia.

    So no, hurting SPI does nothing to Russia. The product isn’t sold within Russia. The distributors are not Russian. The owners are from Russia, but haven’t been there in a decade as they are in conflict with the current government. Further, the company donates heavily to LGBT efforts across the globe.

    Do your homework, Francis. Don’t take my word for it, here is a letter directly from the CEO of SPI Group — a man who describes himself as a former Russian. http://www.stoli.com/downloads/LGBT_Community_Letter.pdf

  49. How are you enjoying that freedom to marry in Ireland there? Not passed just yet? We’re enjoying it here in California thank you very much.

    But let’s keep the focus where it needs to be: this is about Russia and the horrific beatings, kidnappings, torture, arrests and criminalization of our LGBT brothers and sisters.

  50. There have now been many calls from Russian LGBT activists and leaders for the boycott of vodka and other products, and of the Olympics, and the denial of visas to the anti-gay Russian officials.

  51. I think he says it is working because the call for it has gone viral and made millions talk about the Russian atrocities now, where as they had been silent for the years that these horrors have already been happening.

    The larger item boycotts would be important, you are right: but a quick easy way to get people to do SOMETHING and therefore to talk and make a presence known about the issue is to do something they can in their own life and home.

  52. What happened to Russia? You used to have such good information, such noble culture.
    1) Pedophilia is perpetrated more by Straight men than by gay men or by women. Those are the actual statistics. Pedophilia is not about sexuality; it’s about power and control and dominance. You can easily educate yourself and your country about this; the psychological research and statistics are very available.

    2) This extremist, reactionary behavior is very uncultured, nyekulturnii. It shames the great country of Russia.

  53. Many Russian LGBT leaders have asked for the boycott, of vodka, of the Olympics, and for the denial of visas to our countries for those Russian legislators who made the obscene laws. You can find the open letters and calls in the Gay press.

  54. I think his point has been missed here. He says boycotts don’t seem to work until you find out that they actually have worked and he is saying the current one is working. He cites a couple of boycotts that have worked to prove his claim: the Dr. Laura one as the best example. I myself recall the Bus boycott of the Civil Right movement being part of the successful application of pressure and raising of awareness in the 50’s and 60’s.

  55. CAn you please cite sources? It’s very confusing. I’m reading that Stoli IS made in Latvia chiefly, though using Russian grains they buy. Stoli has been very present in LGBT events and sponsored many of them in the US and Europe, so they’ve been business partners if not allies. They put out a very strongly worded letter deploring the Russian laws and pledging continued support of the LGBT community. So if you do have info to the contrary, it will be important to see it and the sources. Thanks.

  56. Francis Parsons says:

    Nearly everything you’ve written here is false. Stoli is owned by SPI, a Russian company that in no way opposes the current Russian policies. Latvia barely comes into it. Hurting Stoli hurts SPI, which hurts that parent company’s Russian owners and distributors.

  57. Heather Lee says:

    If they wanted to really protect kids ..they should make sure that average family incomes were better , domestic abuse, alcohol and drug addiction were combated, that organized crime- which has its hands in making porn there with underage participants (often ‘street kids’ themselves or forced into it and made addicted to drugs) was prosecuted more, (fat chance with corrupt officials who have money riding in it) , the people still have a lower than average life expectancy -a lot of these situations lead to kids without parents…and putting kids at high risk. Homosexuals aren’t the problem in Russia…Their avoidance of dealing with directly with the real and inconvenient stuff is…This is just scapegoating one group for a the multitude of problems brought by it’s own mainstream society-that have existed for a while…

  58. Brandon says:

    Way to perpetuate a boycott that goes after the wrong target and makes the LGBT community look totally uninformed. Stoli is not Russian. It has a single distillery in that country. The parent company is Luxembourg based. The owners and management are in opposition to the current Russian government. And the bulk of their product is made in Latvia! Further, they have donated heavily to LGBT efforts. Maybe a boycott works, maybe it doesn’t — but it only has a chance of working if you target the folks you’re trying to send a message to!

  59. Anonymous says:

    Yes, a “Christian” – the kind that plays into the politics the church has enjoyed for centuries. He’s falling for the oldest trick in the book. First heresy and homosexuality are banned. Pretty soon all their liberties will be banned. And this guy would like the same to happen here. What a fool. He really thinks this will fix the economy, I’m sure. He’s so small minded he really believes the church will solve everything. Typical magical thinking these fools often display.

  60. Anonymous says:

    I didn’t even want to respond to your apologist drivel, but “Occupy Pedophilia” is run by skinhead gangs who torture kids, often to suicide. They are nothing but thugs and known ex-cons who now have a platform for their violence. You fools believe you’re “thinking of the children” but you’re really raising kids in a HATEFUL WORLD to become hateful adults. So, what’s the point of the stupid “think of the children” argument again? All I have to ask is where the parents of these Russian gay kids are, or would they abandon their kids for being gay like so many “beatific Catholics” do here?

  61. Anonymous says:

    The campaign had good intentions, but it was rushed and ill-conceived. They could have at least targeted another Russian brand rather than a sympathetic LGBT supporter like Stoli. We can also look into boycotting ANY Russian product, not just “vodka and caviar” that many people don’t consume anyway. The campaign is kind of a fail and needs to be reimagined. The awareness is great, but we seem to be harming our biggest ally…tell me that doesn’t look foolish. Surely there are more worthwhile people to put pressure on.

  62. Marc says:

    This article is a masterpiece of circular logic: the boycott is working because … it’s happening. Therefore it’s working! Yay!

    You also gotta love his corollary argument that the point of a boycott isn’t to cause the company to actually lose any money (?), but the reason he has to argue that is obvious: Chick Filet or however it’s spelled. That boycott was such a resounding success that the company’s profits actually went >up< during the boycott. You can't very well argue that a boycott has failed if the company doesn't feel any pain. But you can't concede defeat ever! These are the culture wars after all. So you just redefine success as "existence" (by which definition everyone at the Olympics will be a gold-medalist) (a type of thinking which is not unheard-of among certain groups) and claim successes left and right.

    Anyway, the reason I say boycotting Russian vodka is a bad idea is because it's the ne plus ultra of slacktivism. There's nothing wrong with boycotting Russian vodka in and of itself, but it's going to give people a no-pain excuse to do nothing else. "I'm only drinking Absolut from now on! Woot! Go gay rights!" Meanwhile in Russia LGBT activists are getting beaten on the street. See the problem? Boycotting the vodka won't help. Do something that will actually have an effect. Give money to LGBT organizations in Russia or in the US which are specifically helping in Russia, for example.

    In other words, if you think you're doing anything at all to help next time you sanctimoniously tell the bartender to make your vodka tonic with anything but Russian vodka, you're equal parts lazy, hypocritical, and delusional. You're engaging in the worst kind of self-righteous own-back-patting.

    If you care, do something that works.

  63. Charles Maguro says:

    I’ll bet you’re also a Christian, you vile piece of shit.

  64. Sterling Ericsson says:

    That’s why people shouldn’t be making assumptions without properly researching things.

  65. FlyingP4dre says:

    Perhaps you would be more at home in Russia.

  66. FlyingP4dre says:

    Yes! My point is how easily the two could be confused!

  67. runfastandwin says:

    NBC makes a lot more sense than Stoli, especially since 90 percent of what they have on is dreck.

  68. Activist says:

    Why are you ignoring the specific requests of the people inside of Russia? Do you know better than them what they need? The Boycott of Jamacian products ended up in bashed gays. Let’s trust the local leaders.

  69. sng666 says:

    You are so pathetic and self ansorbed! Russians don’t give a shit about you wasting vodka or organizing boycott. Period. They will not budge on the issue. The movement against pedophiles and pederasts came from the Citizens of Russia (Occupy Pedophilia and others), and the government had to take all in their hands to have it, rightfully legislated. This is to protect their children health, well being and morality from corruption. I wish the government here was thinking about right of children (for healthy upbringing) instead of rights of perverts.

  70. chucklin72 says:

    As much as I am against Russian government on this issue, I was intrigued by the title “Why the gay boycott of Russian vodka is already working”

    The conclusion that it is working because people are talking about it seems lacking. Working means that there is a change or the start of a change in Russian government. If I said “Help me get a million likes so I can petition Carnegie Hall to let me perform” and I proclaim that its working because I’m getting tons of likes, it doesn’t mean Carnegie Hall is actually considering me.

    Even a worthy issue can be poorly represented.

    Slacktivism, a word I was unfamiliar with until yesterday. It means that people feel that they are doing something by doing nothing.

    If the movement has real balls ( no pun intended ), then just boycott everything Russian and refuse to sell products to Russia. Until then I’m really not impressed that you’re out partying at a dance club drinking vodka of a different country.

  71. Jaqcky Daniels says:

    Atlanta has several bars that feature ONLY American made libations! LOVE THEM! Drink Tito’s!

  72. pamsfriend says:

    Completely disagree w/Buzzfeed’s take on this: This is NOT about rejecting their culture. It’s about putting pressure on rich people – who make the laws in most places – to move off their arses to get some positive change.

  73. Sterling Ericsson says:

    Did you need to post this twice? I already responded to the above one.

  74. Sterling Ericsson says:

    Their advertising about being Russian? They are originally Russian? Why is that bad?

    Are the LGBT community in Russia bad because they are Russian? It is their heritage and their government is not the same thing as their nationality.

    One can be against one’s government while still respecting one’s nationality.

  75. Sterling Ericsson says:

    You do realize that there are two different Stolichnaya’s being sold, right? After the lawsuit, the Russian government owns one while the SPI Group company owns the other. Don’t conflate the two.

    SPI Group has always been on our side.

  76. FlyingP4dre says:

    He’s since added #DumpRussianVodka to the campaign. As I’ve said, it’s only been one week and Stoli’s own misleading advertising is at least partially to blame for the misunderstanding.

  77. FlyingP4dre says:

    Stoli is probably the most well known, widely distributed.

    Also, there are ads like this that make confusion understandable:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGAGo1gELuA

  78. Sterling Ericsson says:

    I’m not from Nebraska, I just live here now.

  79. Sterling Ericsson says:

    Couldn’t you have raised awareness by boycotting ANY other brand of Russian alcohol? Why are we going after one of our allies?

  80. Sterling Ericsson says:

    I blame Dan Savage for that one. I don’t know what the hell he was thinking.

  81. Sterling Ericsson says:

    Except Stoli is clearly the MAIN target. Have you seen Dan Savage’s Dump Stoli campaign?

    It is ill-conceived and is harmful to the integrity of our community when we start going after one of our allies.

  82. Sterling Ericsson says:

    Why wasn’t the focus on any other major Russian brand of alcohol? Why has the focus specifically been on Stoli, who is one of our supporters? It makes no logical sense.

  83. Sterling Ericsson says:

    Because isolationism is a horrible ideology that only makes the world worse. We are all a part of a global community and we all need to support each other and fight for change to make the world a better place for everyone.

    And this is especially true for the LGBT community, which has members in every country in every region of the world.

  84. Guest says:

    What’s wrong with recommending American alternatives to any foreign product to other Americans?

  85. FlyingP4dre says:

    Dude, this is one of the few people commenting with a vaguely sane criticism of the boycott with historical context. Lay off. I don’t totally agree with him, but he’s not dropping one line insults to make his case.

  86. FlyingP4dre says:

    Stoli isn’t the sole target. Don’t be daft. Mistakes can be made without condemning an entire well-meaning campaign.

  87. FlyingP4dre says:

    How does the Stoli boycott show “the ill-thought through nature of all of this?” It was a simple, understandable error given that the CEO of SPI said the company is Russian, the SPI website says it is “the world’s biggest exporter of Russian vodka,” and that Stoli has testified to the US government that their product is Russian? Anybody who did their homework would find this information *in addition to* the contradictory information you’re listing.

    The boycott has already generated plenty of buzz and discussion about the Russian government’s policies, raised awareness as it’s been reported by nearly every major news outlet, and has brought the Winter Olympics under major scrutiny, including putting pressure on the Olympic Committee and NBC to take steps.

    Everyone who is harping on the Stoli-specific question surely must understand (or else is being willfully ignorant) that the spirit of the boycott is to stop purchasing Russian-made products, and specifically encouraging adults to not buy alcoholic drinks containing Russian vodkas.

    The only halfway sane condemnation of the boycott I’ve heard is that there were no calls from the LBGT activists/community in Russia for that support.

  88. FlyingP4dre says:

    Yeah, the #DumpStoli could have been more broad.

  89. Butch1 says:

    There is something going on in his own background that needs investigating.

  90. marcos says:

    One potential upside to an economic boycott is that it would crystalize western antagonism of Putin, which would only clear the way for a better deal for Snowden as Putin would act of spite.

    Putin’s homophobia, while repulsive, is a minor annoyance when compared by any reasonable measure with the brutality of the US empire run in broad consensus by the Republicrats and Demopublicans for their Wall Street and Military Industrial Complex masters.

  91. marcos says:

    Might I suggest you consider finding yourself a partner with which to have gay sex? It really takes the edge off of things, calms one down, and is in general readily available to even the ugliest and stupidest homosexual.

  92. Wolfgang says:

    It is, indeed,an ambiguous statement in this context as “Dump Russian Vodka” focuses on one brand which
    – Is not Russian
    – Has no influence on the Russian government
    – Can not change policy in the country.
    The Russian CEO of Stolichnaya / SPI (the non-Russian Stoli we get) is in exile, because the government hates him…

    Boycott an actual Russian product (good luck finding an every day one that is not gas) or company and I’m gladly on board.

  93. Wolfgang says:

    Oh, help… A gay teenager took his life last week in Iowa. I guess corn on the cob is off the table…

  94. Mark says:

    try the Canadian’s vodkas: Polar Ice, Iceberg are my favorite and we have many others to taste.

  95. Wolfgang says:

    This comment is culturally blind, I can’t even… This “present extreme circumstance” did not magically appear because Buzzfeed shared 36 pictures from Russia everyone should see and Harvey Fierstein wrote about it. Russia has been a homophobic hotbed for decades, it is only now that you take notice and have chosen the wrongest path imaginable to do something about it.

  96. Wolfgang says:

    Sterling –
    because everything about this boycott is unimaginative and not thought through. Without thinking, the first brand with a Russian name and a vague connection got targeted.
    It’s corporate xenophobia that is not helpful and will damage the LGBT community in the long run. Good luck finding a replacement sponsor for pride events when Stoli’s patience (rightfully) runs out…!

  97. marcos says:

    The analogy fails, but this, not our prattle, is what is decisive:

    New York, NY (July 28, 2013) — In a
    bold statement sent today to Queer Nation, 23 leading LGBT Russian
    activists and their supporters called for a broad boycott of Russian
    products and the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi.

    “International support is essential for the survival of Russia’s LGBT
    community right now,” the July 28 statement read. “We appreciate and
    support all attempts to let the Russian authorities know that homophobic
    and inhumane laws will not go unnoticed and that Vladimir Putin’s
    regime will not get away with antigay violence.”

    The statement
    is an unambiguous endorsement of the “Dump Russian Vodka” campaign
    called for by Queer Nation, Dan Savage, Cleve Jones and other leading
    LGBT activists worldwide. The statement also endorses actor Harvey
    Fierstein’s impassioned call in the New York Times for a boycott of the
    Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.

    “At great personal risk, these
    LGBT activists, their allies and organizations have called for our
    continued support,” said Alan Klein, a co-founder of Queer Nation.
    “Their courage inspires us to continue our work until such time as the
    Russian government repeals this anti-gay law.”

    In June, the
    Russian Duma passed a law that barred pro-LGBT discussions and displays
    in public and on the Internet. Since the law was enacted, LGBT Russians
    and foreign LGBT nationals have endured violence and arrests.

    Queer Nation expects that there will be additional endorsers on the
    Russian activists’ statement. The statement and list of signatories
    follows (in English first and then in Russian):

    Dear Friends,

    International support is essential for the survival of Russia’s LGBT
    community right now. We appreciate and support all attempts to let the
    Russian authorities know that homophobic and inhumane laws will not go
    unnoticed and that Vladimir Putin’s regime will not get away with
    antigay violence. We speak out in favor of boycotting Russian goods and
    companies and the Olympic Games in Sochi. We also appreciate the
    attention of international media; we need it. We would also support any
    legislative initiative aimed at holding the Russian authorities
    accountable for their homophobic campaign. Thank you for being with us
    in our hour of need.

    Masha Gessen, author, journalist, activist
    Kseniya Kirichenko, lawyer and legal scholar
    Alexei Davydov, Radical Faggots Union; political council member of the Moscow chapter of the Solidarity Movement
    Maria Baronova, activist, Bolotnoye Case defendant
    Alexander Artemyev, journalist
    Olga Krause, poet, musician, activist
    Tasha Granovskaya, social worker, LGBT activist

    Bulat Barantaev, Homosexuals, Relatives and Friends Movement; member of
    the political council, Novosibirsk chapter of the Solidarity Movement
    Mitya Aleshkovsky, photographer, activist
    Karen Shainyan, journalist
    Galina Chachanova, freelance translator
    Yana Mandrykina, attorney
    Elena Nikitina
    Alexander Agapov, editor, Livejournal.com
    Elena Rifat Hakimova, activist
    Olga Kurachyova, journalist, LGBT activist
    Zlata Bossina, Quarteera e.V., an organization for Russian-speaking LGBT and friends in Germany
    Tagira Abdullayeva, LGBT activist, medical neurologist
    Anastasia Putseva, business consultant
    Tasya Krugovykh, filmmaker
    Yulia Selezen, philologist
    Anna Mikhailina
    Akram Kubanychbek

  98. Wolfgang says:

    Because America is SUCH a trailblazer when it comes to LGBT equality. :) That’s why my American husband and I have been living in Ireland for 4 years – because it took a COURT CASE to get one section of DOMA removed.

    Where was the Jack Daniels boycott (actually an American company, ACTUALLY based in Tennessee) when the “Don’t Say Gay” bill was debated there?

  99. Mike_H says:

    You’ve not made an actual argument, though. You’ve offered nothing in the way of proof of how Stoli has been such a tremendous LGBT supporter across the world. Simply sponsoring some gay pride events is something dozens, even hundreds of companies have done; it’s relatively easy to do and actually is a good business practice.

    So aside from that, what, exactly, has Stoli done that you heap such praise on them? That you feel they are so sacrosanct that you are up in arms about this boycott? That you ignore their very real connections to Russia in order to cut them slack?

    You seem very vehement and very emotional about this, but haven’t proffered much in the way of facts.

    Simply being hyperbolic isn’t actually an argument, Sterling. Let’s have some facts, please.

  100. Mike_H says:

    NBC wouldn’t have even announced it would cover the LGBT issues if it wasn’t for the attention brought about by the boycott, so there is already a benefit.

    Although NBC did leave itself some wiggle room, so there’s no guarantee they actually will cover anything regarding the Russian LGBT situation.

  101. Strepsi says:

    To raise international awareness, and it worked. The answer is in the article

  102. Strepsi says:

    No it’s worse — they are accomplices, photographing PROUDLY so they can post on VK (“Russian Facebook”) to show off AND cause the victim further torture by outing him

  103. brito says:

    This article blissfully has its fingers in its ears. Sorry, but your campaign is stupid and is NOT working. Just because you dismiss those who don’t agree as naysayers doesn’t mean you’re right.

    Please, do some homework and actually think about what you’re doing. Even the most obvious point about one of the brands in question being a huge LGBT supporter – not to mention not even being produced in Russia – should be enough to convince you of the ill-thought through nature of all of this.

    I know it can be seem being being the activist, but at least do it properly. Otherwise it’s just embarrassing.

  104. karmanot says:

    Interesting background.

  105. marcos says:

    Analogy tries to reason based on comparing like phenomenon. You can’t do that with phenomenon that have little in common. A is like B requires that A actually be like B. When A is not like B, you can’t make a successful analogy that guides us based on past experience.

    A more apt comparison would have been the pogroms of the late 19th century that my great grandparents fled to the US. But there was no communication nor notion of human rights as a component of international relations at that time, so it, too, fails to provide insight on how to proceed currently.

  106. karmanot says:

    Thank you for insulting skills and your expertise when it comes to trolldom. When it comes to your banal ideas I can’t help but stop at the ‘dis’ in discussion.

  107. karmanot says:

    zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  108. karmanot says:

    Look up the word ‘analogy’ Imelda.

  109. karmanot says:

    Hi neighbor—-Sebastopol/Forestville

  110. Matt Rogers says:

    Chick-Fil-A’s CEO was (and is) donating millions of dollars toward denying LGBT people’s civil rights.

  111. Sterling Ericsson says:

    No, feel free to look me up. I’m the one using my real name here.

  112. Sterling Ericsson says:

    Good job at not answering the question. In fact, that’s all you’ve been doing in this entire comment section, insulting and not discussing whatsoever.

    You’re the troll here.

  113. Sterling Ericsson says:

    Why is the boycott almost exclusively focusing on Stoli though? I’ve heard nary a word about Russian Standard or any other brand of Russian vodka during this boycott, just Stoli this and Stoli that.

    You do realize that the other brands pay far more of their taxes to the Russian government, since they are actually based in Russia? Unlike Stoli, which is based in Latvia.

  114. Sterling Ericsson says:

    Why aren’t we focusing on an actual Russian brand, like Russian Standard? Why are we going after an ally that isn;t even based in Russia any longer?

  115. Sterling Ericsson says:

    Every shot of an LGBT supporting group’s vodka is harming someone? Where does that logic come from?

  116. Sterling Ericsson says:

    An error should be corrected, especially when the campaign seems to be going almost exclusively after SPI for some reason, even though they are no longer based in Russia and they have always supported the LGBT community.

  117. Sterling Ericsson says:

    Why shouldn’t people be supporting the Latvia based Stoli Vodka, which is also supportive of the LGBT community?

  118. Alison Demzon says:

    So, the point is to put up posts and everyone agrees with them; not actual discussion or intelligent debate of any type… Why is it that you don’t support what the Russian government is doing then? Never mind, I don’t go for that, and the places that I admin don’t either. If there is not actual debate about issues, nothing is learned or solved. Want to delete what I wrote here? Go for it. Amazing how many people are still mentally and emotionally in high school.

  119. Dan says:

    This doesn’t seem to address the real concern about the Stoli boycott. Namely, that the Stolichnaya available in the US is not made in Russia. It’s distilled in Latvia by SPI, a company owned by Yuri Shefler, a former Russian businessman who has been exiled for resisting when the Putin government re-nationalized the vodka production industry and seized Shefler’s distilleries. Shefler now runs his company in exile from Switzerland. Boycotting Stoli made by the LGBT-friendly SPI is sort of like invading Iraq to get Osama Bin Laden. I don’t think that I can post a link here, but you can find more info by reading the Guardian article entitled “Putin targets Stoli boss in the battle for vodka billions” (8/4/02)

  120. tregibbs says:

    It’s not stupid – it’s a valid point. Stoli has been a huge supporter and ally of the LGBT community for decades. How can you not understand that?

  121. tregibbs says:

    Good question – the answer, it seems, based on this and other articles, is that this boycott of Stoli will damage the brand, which will cause the media to pay attention and get more and more people aware of the atrocities, therefore becoming outraged at the way the Russian government treats it’s LGBT citizens, hopefully effecting change.
    It seems ridiculous to damage the brand of an LGBT ally due to the Russian government’s torture of gay people. Or does it? A lot of people don’t understand that it doesn’t work the same way in Russia as it does here.

    The head of the Russian LGBT Alliance is against this boycott – he calls it “misguided”.

  122. marcos says:

    The Jews did ask the US for help before the war and the US balked.

    This is not a war. The Russians are not exterminating Russian LGBT. Russian LGBT are capable of asking for our help. I expect them to and will act as they request.

    The analogy is misplaced, gross violations of Godwin’s law notwithstanding.

  123. marcos says:

    The last thing we need is an American laying down the radical line in the sand for other Americans to toe under pain of not being serious about fighting homophobia in Russia. Self determination is key in how Americans should approach international solidarity. It is not like this everywhere else. Most Americans are unaware that things are different in different places, many think that everywhere else is “a pit,” and they just need to catch up to us.

    I was involved in the Jesse Helms Marlboro/Miller boycott in 1990. Money was spent on what was deemed campaign related issues that was not reported to the FEC and folks faced investigation and legal costs. There can be side effects to these actions unless they are well thought out. In our case, it was a few thousand bucks. In Russia it could be lives.

  124. Moderator3 says:

    Here’s a different moderator. Karmanot is a known entity on this blog. For that reason alone, he is not a troll.

  125. marcos says:

    Your brain is very small.

  126. Alison Demzon says:

    See? People not reading or adding to the conversation get more clearance than people that want to add the same points to multiple conversations; good job. (I’m case you don’t know what I mean this karmanot kid is just running around making 2-5 word comments that are simply to be an ass; otherwise know as trolling.)