[personal profile] drscott
The Hive-Mind of The Gays is again demonstrating its willingness to thoughtlessly damage others by boycotting Stoli vodka, a symbol of Russia in American minds but whose owners have already tangled with the Putin fascists and barely survived; the Stoli sold here is currently bottled in Latvia. The Russian government already expropriated the brand name inside Russia, and while I can't find any direct evidence, I suspect the owning company pays no taxes to Russia directly.

Many people hearing this reply, "I don't care. It's a symbol and the owner is rich, he could persuade Putin." These people are demonstrating the knee-jerk Piety Gene; it doesn't matter whether my actions help, what matters is it makes me feel good. It shows I am a Good Person on the Side of Justice! Others who know more about the situation inside Russia disagree.

Date: 2013-07-26 10:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mrdreamjeans.livejournal.com
Perhaps, it's a big yawn with me since I'm not the market for vodka, but I can't how boycotting Stoli has any real effect on Russia's anti-gay policies, particularly in light of your research.

I'd like to see us boycott The Olympics; and you'll laugh at me, boycott Miss Universe, scheduled to be in Russia in November. Perhaps, we should boycott anything Donald Trump does. He owns the pageant. Don't anyone tell me there aren't any queens associated with beauty pageants! :) How will those contestants survive without their stylists and makeup artists?

Date: 2013-07-27 05:16 am (UTC)
ext_15118: Me, on a car, in the middle of nowhere Eastern Colorado (Default)
From: [identity profile] typographer.livejournal.com
I don't think the boycott is going to do much good, but I have to point out that it takes very little research to show that the company that makes Stoli (SPI) has extensive Russian operations.

Admittedly, you have to go to a cached version of SPI's website to see some of this, because big sections of it have changed, for some reason, in the last 24 hours.

Two of the three distilleries owned by SPI are in Russian. The one located in Tambov the SPI website proudly describes as "the largest in European Russia."

Their Elit product line is described, on the SPI website, as made with 100% Russian grown wheat, Russian grown rye, and Russian artesian well water. The web site also went on a bit about the extensive real estate holdings the company has in Russia. The english version, at least, now just talks about how much real estate and how many hectares of agricultural land they own, no longer specifying that it is in Russia.

Now, among the reasons I don't think boycotting Stoli in particular is going to work is that the CEO (and apparently majority stockholder), is someone who has unsuccessfully tangled with Putin before (as you mention), which is why he has lived outside of Russia for years.

I don't know how much in taxes they pay in Russia for those two distilleries and the thousands of hectares, et cetera, but I suspect it is something north of zero.

Date: 2013-07-27 06:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dr-scott.livejournal.com
You obviously followed the research chain further than I did, so apparently some profits of the Western Stoli's owner do get taxed in Russia (indirectly at least.) There is also a decent argument which suggests that the target of the boycott doesn't matter nearly as much as the publicity drawn to it - that Putin and friends will know they are damaging Russia's image in the West by their nekulturny associations with neo-Nazi thinking.

OTOH, picking as a target a company whose Western marketing has been pro-gay and supportive of gay events makes us look like fickle and ignorant partners. If I were considering risking my brand image with homophobes to reach out to gays, I would pause to consider how quickly Stoli was thrown under the bus by a few thought leaders simply because it was convenient, instead of a harder anti-Olympic sponsors campaign which would hit more directly at Putin's prestige -- since the Winter Games are a personal project of his, controversy and sponsor pullouts much more directly carry a message.

Date: 2013-07-27 07:18 pm (UTC)
ext_15118: Me, on a car, in the middle of nowhere Eastern Colorado (Default)
From: [identity profile] typographer.livejournal.com
I agree that the Olympics would be a more productive target, but as you say, harder.

I think what miffs me more about this pile on at Stoli is that it is easier to say "Dump Stoli!" than to research and analyze Olympic sponsors, and so on.

*sigh*

There's also a weird playing-into-bad-stereotypes aspect to it: the whole community being cocktail swilling barflies. (Not that I don't swill the occasional cocktail, but when I do, it's usually gin or bourbon).

Date: 2013-07-27 06:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ozdachs.livejournal.com
Nice terminology, but there is a difference between hive minds and people deciding to stop their economic support of companies connected with immoral policies.

There is evidence that Stoli is Russian. Given the current nature of Russian politics, it is likely that its owners contribute to politicians who cooked up and implemented the policies of hatred.

Sure, a boycott might not be terribly effective. Likewise, passing bans on automatic weapons may not eliminate mass shootings. Adopting laws against insider trading might not eliminate it.

But, doing nothing and averting your eyes is implied consent. The Russians who picked on gays to enhance their internal political positions will see no downside to their actions, and demagogues elsewhere will take note and follow the lead of the Russians.

So, you do what you can. Even when it isn't enough, effective, or whatever standard you'd hope for.

Date: 2013-07-28 08:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] qbear.livejournal.com
Whether or not the boycott(s) are effective, simply the call for them is raising awareness of the oppression going on and the need to fight it. It's a shame that some technically innocent corporations may suffer some profit loss, but people are being beaten, fined and imprisoned for being gay, or talking about homosexuality, or supporting equality. And of course this encourages more individual violence--if the state/church says gays are evil, it must be OK to oppress them or beat them or kill them. Them = us.

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