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View Diary: The Russian Vodka Boycott: What's Russian? What difference does it make? (46 comments)

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  •  Wrong (1+ / 0-)
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    Dave in Northridge

    Stoli might be distilled and bottled in Latvia.  But the vodka distilled in Latvia is made from grain and raw alcohol that comes from Russia.  SPI, the owners of Stoli, have significant operations in Russia, including processing facilities that process the grain and raw alcohol that is distilled and bottled in Latvia and sold as Stoli in the US.  

    As for Stoli's financial support for "gay rights advocacy," that's BS.  Stoli has sponsored gay pride events and events at gay bars.  That's not "financial support."  That's advertising.  When a company targets the gay community with advertising that's not showing support for gay rights.

    The fact that Stoli and the Russian government are engaged in a dispute over the international distribution rights for Stoli has nothing to do with LGBT rights in Russia.

    SPI's CEO Val Mendeleev has made several statements about how his company is pro gay rights, but he has not made a single mention of any charitable donations his company has made to any LGBT or human rights organizations.  

    Mendeleev was on Michael Signorile's radio show this week and said that, in the wake of the boycott, his company is looking into making a financial contribution to a gay rights organization in Russia.  So, in other words, the boycott is working.  Mendeleev is worried that their sales are going to drop so he's trying to figure out ways his company can actually support LGBT rights instead of just paying lip service to it.    

    I'm sure Stoli is in no way the worst of the Russian vodka companies in terms of supporting the oppression of gay people in Russia, but Stoli is the most well-known brand, the one that will garner the most attention.  And if we need to be a little "unfair" to Stoli in order to effectively advocate for LGBT rights in Russia, I can live with that.  I'm much more concerned about the plight of LGBT folks in Russia than I am about the profits of a multi-national corporation.

    The fact that the boycott is working and  you are still speaking out against it makes me think you have another motive, or perhaps you just don't understand how successful activism works.

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