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Old 07-26-2013, 04:55 PM   #1
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boycott Stoli? boycott Sochi 2014?

as the Russian government declares war on gay people and holds 4 Dutch tourists in jail, it's a tough time to be gay and in Russia:


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As LGBT rights advance in the United States, gays in Russia are experiencing the opposite trend: an erosion of rights and a violent backlash against those fighting for equality there.

Russian lawmakers on Tuesday approved a bill that would ban the “promotion of homosexuality” to minors, leading some to urge a U.S. boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

The measure passed in the Duma by a 436-0 vote margin with one abstention. Individuals would face fines of between 4,000 and 5,000 rubles ($124-$155,) and government officials would face fines of between 40,000 and 50,000 rubles ($1,241-$1,551.)

Media organizations and other groups would face a fine of up to 1 million rubles ($31,000) or suspension of their activities for up to 90 days. Foreigners could also face up to 15 days in jail and deportation.

Nikolai Alekseev of Gay Russia, an LGBT advocacy group, told the Washington Blade from Moscow on Wednesday he “was expecting” lawmakers would support the measure. He noted programs on Russian television were largely supportive of the measure – and some of its supporters publicly compared homosexuality to pedophilia.

The Federation Council, Russia’s upper house of parliament, still needs to approve the bill, but observers expect it will easily pass.

President Vladimir Putin, who announced his divorce from his wife of 30 years last week, is expected to sign it into law.

“I was sure it would be passed,” Alekseev said. “It will now be signed by the president, who is very much using this fight against homosexuals in his campaign to attract voters.”

The State Department in January criticized the passage of the “promotion of homosexuality” bill on its first reading. The United Nations, Amnesty International and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are among those who have also spoken out against the measure.

“Russia is trying very hard to make discrimination look respectable by calling it ‘tradition,’ but whatever term is used in the bill, it remains discrimination and a violation of the basic human rights of LGBT people,” Graeme Reid, LGBT rights program director at Human Rights Watch, said. “To try to exclude LGBT people as ‘non-traditional’ is to try and make them less than human. It is cynical, and it is dangerous.”

“This is a very sad day for the Russian LGBTI community and for Russian democracy,” Martin K. I. Christensen, co-chair of ILGA-Europe’s Executive Board, added.

The measure passed amid growing concerns over anti-LGBT violence and discrimination in the country.

Two men allegedly sodomized Vladislav Tornovoi with empty beer bottles and set his body on fire near Volgograd on May 10 after he reportedly came out to them. Reuters on June 3 reported authorities on the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia’s Far East said three men stabbed and trampled a gay man to death late last month before they set his car on fire with his body inside.

Russian lawmakers are also poised to ban foreign same-sex couples from adopting Russian children.

Alekseev said hundreds of skinheads and other anti-gay demonstrators confronted the few dozen LGBT protesters who kissed outside the Duma before Tuesday’s vote. He noted several of the advocates were attacked; and one of them remains in the hospital.

Alekseev said authorities arrested many of the LGBT activists and “didn’t touch any of the anti-gay protesters.”

“We’re quite used to such hostility and to such arrest,” he told the Blade.

Dangerous time in Russia | Gay News | LGBT World : Washington Blade – America's Leading Gay News Source

here's video of Russian skinheads torturing a gay Russian teen:

Putin's Crackdown on LGBT Teens in Russia - YouTube

images of bashed gay and gay allies in Russia:

36 Photos From Russia That Everyone Needs To See



one line of thought is that gay athletes -- all athletes -- as well as tourists should not participate in these Olympic games in a country that not only supports but promotes hostile policies and laws towards GLBT individuals:



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Boycott Sochi Olympics?

HereTV.com host Jim Morrison posted a petition to the White House’s website after Tuesday’s vote that calls for a boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics that will take place in the Russian city of Sochi in February.

“For my country to participate in this is outlandish,” he told the Blade.

A Russian appeals court in March 2012 upheld a lower court ruling that blocked a group that sought to disseminate information on the Russian LGBT rights movement during the Sochi games.

Alekseev, who has appealed the decision to the European Court of Human Rights, noted the country will also host the 2018 World Cup.

He said economic sanctions against Russia is one way to pressure the government to improve its record on LGBT rights and other human rights issues. Alekseev added, however, the international community “should think” before it decides to participate in the Sochi Olympics and the World Cup.

“[They are] a very good opportunity to raise particular concerns,” he said. “One of the ways for many countries would be to boycott these international sporting events because they take place in a country which doesn’t respect basic human rights.”

The United States and other countries boycotted the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow in response to the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan the year before.

Cyd Zeigler, Jr., co-founder of Outsports.com, described the boycott as “the biggest black eye this country has ever self-inflicted.”

“The Olympics are supposed to be apolitical,” he said, noting gay Olympic diver Greg Louganis was unable to compete because then-President Jimmy Carter decided to boycott the games. “To start playing politics by removing an opportunity for these athletes to participate — something they’ve been working for all their lives would be a disgrace.”

Blake Skjellerup, a gay short track speed skater from New Zealand who plans to compete in Sochi, said he would not support a boycott of the games.

“The Olympic games for athletes is something they dream of their whole life and spend their whole life working for,” he told the Blade during an interview on Tuesday night from Calgary where he continues to train. “To have that swept away from underneath you is pretty shocking.”

Gay gymnast Josh Dixon, who finished 13th at the Olympic trials ahead of last summer’s London games, said there would be “nothing more disheartening” than to “discredit the years of work put into accomplishing a goal taken away for political reasons.”

“To have that work taken away, let alone the time it took to reach such a level, would be gut-wrenching,” he told the Blade.

Zeigler and Skjellerup both said they support any athlete who decides to publicly speak out against LGBT rights abuses in Russia.

“I’ll be focusing 110 percent on my competing,” Skjellerup said. “I’m not going to tone down the sort of person that I am just because I’m in a country that has these barbaric laws that exist saying that who I am is wrong.”

The U.S. Olympic Committee did not respond to the Blade’s request for comment.

Dangerous time in Russia | Gay News | LGBT World : Washington Blade – America's Leading Gay News Source

instead of Sochi, Dan Savage thinks we should boycott Stoli vodka:

Quote:
But boycott or no boycott there is something we can do right here, right now, in Seattle and other US cities to show our solidarity with Russian queers and their allies and to help to draw international attention to the persecution of gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, trans people, and straight allies in Putin's increasingly fascistic Russia: DUMP RUSSIAN VODKA.

DUMPRUSSIANVODKA_square_logo.jpg
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.

Matt Fikse-Verkerk, a strategic communications consultant here in Seattle, has been calling queer bars in Seattle to find out if they serve Stoli, the most iconic brand of Russian vodka. (Matt also created the image above. The image is currently my Twitter avatar—why not make it yours?) Every single gay bar whose manager Matt got on the phone told him that they were serving Stoli. Purr, The Cuff, The Lobby Bar, Madison Pub, Bottleneck Lounge, C. C. Attle's, Changes, the Crescent Lounge, Diesel, and R-Place—they're all serving Stoli. It's a good bet that the Seattle Eagle, Neighbours, the Wildrose, Pony, and the rest of Seattle's gay bars are serving Stoli too.

Seattle's bars, gay and straight, must dump Stoli. Seattle's drinkers, gay and straight, must dump Stoli.

Why I'm Boycotting Russian Vodka | Slog

gay bars in London, Chicago, and SF seem to be dumping Soli: G-A-Y bars joins boycott of Russian vodka and urges supermarkets to do the same - PinkNews.co.uk

Stoli responds: https://www.facebook.com/Stoli?rf=112383265445429





i like Stoli, and i like the Olympics. i think boycotts are silly, usually, and the 1980 boycott was disastrous. a product boycott, like Stoli, makes a little more sense.

any thoughts?
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Old 07-26-2013, 05:00 PM   #2
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Product boycotts are a simple enough thing to do, though.
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Old 07-26-2013, 05:06 PM   #3
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Just curious - is Stoli officially endorsing gay bashing?

What if there are many gays and lesbians that work for Stoli - and a protest cost them their jobs, and brings down more hatred on them for causing the layoffs...? Things to consider.
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Old 07-26-2013, 05:11 PM   #4
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Ten minutes of reading more into this, and it seems like boycotting Stoli specifically is a really ignorant, useless move.

I can understand Russian import Vodkas, kinda, but this one doesn't even appear to actually be made in Russia, or have any pull in Russian politics/government/taxes/etc.
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Old 07-26-2013, 05:14 PM   #5
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Stoli Facebook keeps pointing to this article:

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Russia is a pretty terrible place to be right now if you’re gay. They recently criminalized anything remotely gay, outlawed gay pride events, and banned adoptions by foreign gay couples. Russian nationalists are using social media to lure out gay teens and torture them on video. Gay people in Russia are being publicly physically attacked with no consequence; indeed, the police and government seem to be cheering it on. It’s difficult to watch such a large, developed nation treat people so terribly, and so Westerners are mulling over what we could possibly do to influence Russia to change its behavior.
Inevitably such talk leads to calls for boycotts. It is the most logical choice. We have no real influence over Russia’s politics as citizens. The overwhelming political approval of anti-gay legislation in Russia indicates internal resistance is going to be extremely difficult and dangerous. In this situation, a refusal to contribute to Russia’s economy is probably the only way an average Westerner can respond.
There was some chatter about trying to boycott the Sochi Olympics in 2014, but that seems extremely unlikely. The latest call is to boycott Russian vodkas, and gay bars across the country have started to come on board.
One of the big targets is Stolichnaya Vodka, and here’s the boycott starts running into problems in this big world full of global corporations and international trade. The Stoli we drink here in the states is not made in Russia. It’s actually made in Latvia. It is actually a different vodka from what is sold within Russia. Russia seized the internal brands and renationalized them back in 2001. There is a big, nasty battle between Russia and the private Stolichnaya company and its owner, Yuri Scheffler.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that boycotters quite get it. Stoli sent out an open letter Thursday, declaring its support for gay rights, mentioning its history of activity within the gay community in America and other countries. But, Dan Savage posted, this isn’t enough. What are they doing about about the suffering of gays in Russia? Scheffler is one of Russia’s richest men!
There’s a big Western bias in this argument, assuming that Russia’s corporatism is like America’s or Europe’s corporatism. Because Scheffler’s rich, he must have some sort of government influence! There must be something he can do! No doubt there are certainly similarities, but you simply can’t ignore Russia’s deeply nationalist streak and how closely it’s flirting with autocracy. It doesn’t take that much research to see how difficult a position Scheffler is in. Russia wants his company. This story from The Guardian from 2002 makes it very clear that Scheffler is no friend of Putin’s:
In May, 200 masked police ransacked the SPI headquarters in Moscow. An SPI spokesman said: 'These stormtroopers openly said they were assigned to destabilise our business rather than find any proof of our guilt.'
A few months later, the government issued a decree 'to restore and protect the exclusive rights of the Russian Federation' to vodka brands, and to punish 'those guilty of harming the interests of the Russian Federation'.
Scheffler himself is wanted for “questioning” for allegedly threatening the director of the parts of the Russian company that were renationalized.
What’s sad about this effort is that if Russia succeeds in getting its hands back on Stoli, then a boycott actually makes sense. But the consequence will be that a powerful businessman who does support the gay community will lose his company. Boycotting Stoli now is a very bad idea. Scheffler is an ally who the gay and lesbian community needs to work with, not alienate. From a Western perspective it may be hard to realize that an incredibly rich person like Scheffler has the potential to be a victim of Russia’s authoritarian regime like its gay citizens or members of Pussy Riot, but it’s extremely important not to look at the nature of power and influence there the way we do here.
Mandatory reading for anybody looking to understand Russia’s mindset these days: Cathy Young’s lengthy piece from the January issue of Reason magazine, “Putin Goes to Church.” The country is willing to let children rot in state facilities rather than be adopted by Americans. Keep that in mind.
The Terrible, Bad, No-Good Plan to Boycott Stoli Vodka over Russia’s Vile Treatment of Gays - Hit & Run : Reason.com
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Old 07-26-2013, 05:15 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by AEON View Post
Just curious - is Stoli officially endorsing gay bashing?

What if there are many gays and lesbians that work for Stoli - and a protest cost them their jobs, and brings down more hatred on them for causing the layoffs...? Things to consider.


no, if you click on the Stoli FB link, they make a very public statement in support of LGBT rights.

what you're describing happens with any boycott.
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Old 07-26-2013, 05:19 PM   #7
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Ten minutes of reading more into this, and it seems like boycotting Stoli specifically is a really ignorant, useless move.

I can understand Russian import Vodkas, kinda, but this one doesn't even appear to actually be made in Russia, or have any pull in Russian politics/government/taxes/etc.


i believe it's made in Latvia (?) but it is the property of the Russian government, and may be heading back to Russia in '14.


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RUSSIAN FEDERATION WINS BACK FAMOUS VODKA BRANDS "STOLICHNAYA" AND "MOSKOVSKAYA"
26 JULY 2012

In a landmark decision made public on 25 July, the Court of Appeals at The Hague ruled that the rights to the world famous vodka brands “Stolichnaya” and “Moskovskaya” belong to the Russian Federation.

The legal battle between the Russian Federation and Spirits, the Dutch company owned by Russian oligarch Yuri Shefler, has been on-going for some 10 years. Mr. Shefler is accused of having illegally obtained the rights in the leading vodka brands “Stolichnaya” and “Moskovskaya” in the turbulent years following the demise of the USSR. In its judgement, the Court of Appeals has now confirmed that Shefler did not operate in good faith in obtaining these valuable vodka trademarks. According to the Court of Appeals, Spirits is not the rightful owner of the “Stolichnaya” and “Moskovskaya” trademarks. The rights to these world-leading vodka brands belong to the Russian Federation.

Spirits has been licensing the sale of “Stolichnaya” and “Moskovskaya” vodka worldwide since the mid 1990’s. Spirits argued that it had rightfully acquired the trademarks from the Russian State company which originally owned the trademark registrations after the company had been "privatised". The Court ruled that no valid privatisation of the State company had taken place and that the marks thus remained with the Russian State.

According to the Court, Spirits and its director, Yuri Shefler, knew or should have known about this. In addition, the documents available on the alleged "privatisation" should have cast doubts on its validity. Furthermore, the alleged privatisation took place in the "chaotic" period when the USSR fell apart and many State assets were illegally sold off. Moreover, according to the Court, the purchase price for the worldwide portfolio of trademarks was much lower than the actual value of the trademarks. Mr. Shefler and Spirits therefore acted in bad faith when acquiring the trademarks. As the trademarks have remained with the Russian Federation, it is entitled to prohibit the sale of “Stolichnaya” and ”Moskovskaya” vodka by Spirits.

Finally, the Court ruled that Spirits is not allowed to use the words "Russian Vodka" or "Made in Russia" on its bottles. According to the Court, such designations are misleading as the product is not produced by Spirits in Russia.

The decision of the The Hague appeals court can not be challenged on the merits. Spirits may appeal to the Supreme Court, which only has limited possibilities to review the case. The decision has worldwide effect as important issues of Russian law have been resolved by the court. Also, the Court ultimately held that Dutch law is applicable to the purchase of the trademarks by Spirits.

Russian federation wins back famous vodka brands "Stolichnaya" and "Moskovskaya" | Hoyng Monegier LLP

i'm not endorsing any of this, just looking for discussion.

but i will say i don't eat Chik-Fil-A.
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Old 07-26-2013, 05:22 PM   #8
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I attended a lot of the 1984 L A Olympics, the USSR and many Eastern block countries boycotted in reaction to the U S boycott of the 1980 USSR Olympics. I will admit in 1980, being a real, conservative Communist hater I liked the boycott. After 1984 I realized boycotting Olympics is really wrong, always wrong.

I support boycotting Florida, I support boycotting all of Russia all the time because of their legal mistreatment of fellow human beings. I would break the boycott for Olympic events.

We boycott and sanction Iran and Cuba for questionable political reasons.

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Old 07-26-2013, 05:26 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Irvine511 View Post
i believe it's made in Latvia (?) but it is the property of the Russian government, and may be heading back to Russia in '14.





i'm not endorsing any of this, just looking for discussion.

but i will say i don't eat Chik-Fil-A.
I saw a post on their Facebook insisting they were not going to become a Russian brand in 2014, but I can't find it again now.

Did see this though:

Quote:
Write a reply...

Anyways, I don't really drink much vodka, so it's not like this is going to have much of difference in my life. I just like to educate myself whenever the word boycott pops up. Only ever actively participated in one boycott, and that was against Dr. Pepper after they pulled support of the Dublin Bottling Works in Texas. Quit that one when I realized it wasn't going to change anything, and decided to just buy soda from the bottling works online instead.
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Old 07-26-2013, 05:35 PM   #10
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The Russians don't care so the boycott is useless in that sense.

I don't support boycotting the Olympics because it strips the ability to compete from athletes who devoted their lives to maybe one shot. Where I think this is more appropriately dealt with is at the stage where the Olympic games are awarded to a host nation. Since money talks and Nike and Coca Cola and the rest of them would rather go to Russia and China than not, the Olympics will never be a paragon of change.
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Old 07-26-2013, 08:38 PM   #11
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The Russians don't care so the boycott is useless in that sense.

I don't support boycotting the Olympics because it strips the ability to compete from athletes who devoted their lives to maybe one shot. Where I think this is more appropriately dealt with is at the stage where the Olympic games are awarded to a host nation. Since money talks and Nike and Coca Cola and the rest of them would rather go to Russia and China than not, the Olympics will never be a paragon of change.
I agree with this. In addition, if you want an Olympics boycotted due to questionable government policies/human rights issues/whatever you want, then you may as well boycott every major sporting event on the planet, strip the FIFA World Cup from Brazil, strip it from Qatar etc. I don't think it would be fair to deny the people of the host country a chance to witness a once-in-their-lifetime spectacle such as the Olympics.
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Old 07-27-2013, 12:21 AM   #12
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I agree with this. In addition, if you want an Olympics boycotted due to questionable government policies/human rights issues/whatever you want, then you may as well boycott every major sporting event on the planet, strip the FIFA World Cup from Brazil, strip it from Qatar etc. I don't think it would be fair to deny the people of the host country a chance to witness a once-in-their-lifetime spectacle such as the Olympics.
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Old 07-27-2013, 01:02 AM   #13
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Everyone should go to the Olympics and let the athletes (from EVERYWHERE) protest it while there. Make it a turn into national embarrassment for Russia.

Savage strikes me as not particularly thoughtful about this or maybe even in general. The 'gets better' thing was great but since then, the few times I've seen/read him, it's been something strange. Like that weird TV show he had.
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Old 07-27-2013, 03:04 AM   #14
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no, if you click on the Stoli FB link, they make a very public statement in support of LGBT rights.
Then why in the world would you want to boycott them?
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Old 07-27-2013, 09:53 AM   #15
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Then why in the world would you want to boycott them?

Remember how some people wanted to boycott French products because of the Iraq War and the "Freedom Fries" thing?

It's a boycott like that. Still is the iconic Russian vodka. Send the country a message.

That's how boycotts work.
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