The Facts About Stolichnaya \ What Stolichnaya Execs, its PR Firm and Ad Agency Say About the Brand – What Stolichnaya Execs, its PR Firm and Ad Agency Say About the Brand
By Melanie Nathan, August 08, 2013.
Updates August 11, 2013. – In its attempts to separate itself from the Russian vodka boycotts, Stoli came out with an anti-discrimination policy for employers. Here is a recently researched response to this feeble attempt to deflect the inclusion of STOLI in our boycotts:-
As far as we know Stolichnaya anti-discrimination policy was published in English only and not on its Russian language web site. Stolichnaya has 12 employees in the US and hundreds in Russia at its two distilleries there and several hundred in its Latvian distillery so the vast majority of its employees will be unaware of this policy unless they can read English.
Stolichnaya has significant real estate and business operations in Russia. Additionally, earlier this year when the company wanted to raise money to buy a troubled Polish distillery Val Mendeleev, the CEO of SPI Group, the parent of Stolichnaya, called rich friends in Russia.
“We are carefully observing the situation around CEDC,” Mendeleev said in March 7, 2013 statement that was quoted in The Deal Pipeline. “We have already begun preliminary discussions with a few strong financial players in Russia who could be interested in considering the CEDC business together with us. While our evaluation is ongoing, we are confident in our ability to pursue potential alternatives with respect to CEDC, if we decide to do so.”
To suggest that a major Russian employer with strong links to Russian oligarchs cannot influence the Russian government defies logic.
Yuri Shefler, the sole owner of SPI, left Russia because the Russian government accused him of threatening to kill a Russian government minister. He has been entirely unmolested by the Russian government since then. SPI moved its legal domicile, and NONE of its operations, to Luxembourg because it correctly feared that the corrupt Russian courts would rule against it if it had to battle the government in court there. We should not confuse legal maneuvering and PR stunts with reality.
SPI Group was silent when this vile law was being considered in Russia and it was silent after the law was enacted. It complained AFTER the boycott was called. This company is acting only to protect its business interests. If the LGBT community had not called or this boycott, SPI Group would still be happily marketing its Stolichnaya brand to us and saying nothing about what is occurring in Russia.
San Francisco activists will be protesting Stoli sponsored gay events in San Francisco this week, which includes contests being held at San Francisco Bars. We will update with more information about the protests.
Continue to read our earlier Aug 08 report:-
Some are saying we should not include the brand Stoli in our boycott of Russian Vodka. They base this assertion on the fact Stoli supports and sponsors LGBT international events, that its owner has been exiled from Russia and that it is actually manufactured in Latvia.
Here are the facts, noting that one cannot have it both ways – if Stoli is going to use ‘Russia’ for ingredients, marketing ploys or in any way, it must suffer the consequences:
— SPI Group CEO Val Mendeleev, May 29, 2013 in The Spirits Business (link below)
“We understand Stoli is probably the best-known Russian product outside Russia.”
— SPI’s PR representative Kevin Sniffen of the Susan Magrino Agency, July 30, 2013 in Forbes (link below)
Brand is Russian, says Stoli CEO
—SPI CEO Mendeleev interview with SIRIUSXM radio host Michelangelo Signorile, July 31, 2013 (link below)
Authentic Russian Vodka, says Stolichnaya Distributor
— Ian Jameson, President of then Stolichnaya distributor Pernod Ricard, November 2008, Vanity Fair UK
— David Roberts, of Stoli’s then ad agency, Multiply, August 26, 2009
SPI Sells its Other Vodka Brands in Russia
— SPI Group corporate website [Screen grab available upon request] Other SPI vodka brands in Russia are Gradus, Vodka Great Embassy, LB Vodka, and Vodka Kaliningradskaya
In 2004, SPI Group became a major investor in the “Moscow International Business Center,” also known as Moscow City, a $12 billion development project in Moscow in which it still owns an interest. SPI continues to build in Russia, including residential buildings, office buildings, restaurants, and breweries.
Thank you to the following groups:-
Queer Nation is a direct action group dedicated to ending discrimination, violence and repression against the LGBT community. www.queernationny.org @QueerNationNY
#DumpRussianVodka is a global boycott and protest campaign to draw attention to and help stop Russian persecution of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people. The aims of the campaign are to draw attention to the LGBT crisis in Russia, focus economic and political efforts on working to create change inside Russia for LGBT people, and the repeal of Russia’s anti-gay law. www.dumprussianvodka.com Twitter: @DumpStoli
RUSA LGBT is a Russian-Speaking American LGBTQ association. RUSA LGBT was formed in 2008 to establish a network for those who identify with Russian-speaking and LGBTQ cultures. The network is made up of people of Russian-speaking heritage, their friends, supporters and loved ones. RUSA LGBT has welcomed many LGBT asylum seekers from Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus who fled the abuse and mistreatment in their homelands. RUSA LGBT regularly organizes cultural and social events to unite Russian-speaking LGBTQ community in America and to increase acceptance and inclusion of LGBTQ people within the Russian-speaking public. RUSA LGBT fights for social justice, human and civil rights for LGBTQ people in America and in the Former Soviet Union. www.rusalgbt.com @RUSALGBT
Goals of the Dump Russian Vodka Campaign
“Russian vodka manufacturers spend millions to profitably market to LGBT people outside of Russia, but do little to support their LGBT customers and employees inside of Russia. The Dump Russian Vodka campaign is working to change that. The first goal is to draw worldwide awareness to persecution of LGBT people in Russia and the second goal is to use economic leverage worldwide to help improve the lives of LGBT people in Russia. We seek the repeal of the recently enacted anti-gay law in Russia. An economic boycott is one of history’s most time-tested tools for raising awareness and motivating people to organize and create change. The question is: what are Russian companies selling to LGBT people doing INSIDE RUSSIA to help their LGBT customers and employees?”
To make my personal stand clear I am not only boycotting Russian Vodka – On the issue of the Russian persecution of LGBT Russians and visitors, I believe our actions should include the following:
I am supporting:
- The boycott of Russian Vodka including Stoli / Stolichnaya
- The boycott of all Russian products
- Divestment from Russia
- Boycott Russian tourism
- Protests and Russian Consuls
- Retraction of City promotions naming sister cities in Russia
- Retraction and cancellation of Government contracts with U.S. Cities and no new contracts
- Refusal to use Russian products at Government, City and State events
- Condemnation by U.S. and international celebrities, politicians, NGO’s and Government bodies through Resolutions,open letters and direct communication with Russia
- Denial of Visas into U.S. and U.K. of DUMA parliamentarians who support and voted for the hateful legislation
- An outright ban of Russian athletes competing in any international arena, in all sports, for as long as their gay competitors are unable to compete openly
- The FULL boycott of the Winter Olympic Games at Sochi Russia or the removal of the Games from Sochi with pressure on the IOC, the Sponsors, athletes, teams and NBC TV,
Until such time as the Russian DUMA (Parliament) rescinds the anti-gay -anti-propaganda law which is causing detentions, homophobic violence and the persecution of LGBTI Russians and allies.
- HRC Leading U.S. Gays in failing to take the ultimate stand against Russia’s anti-Gay laws (oblogdeeoblogda.me)
Ask IOL to move the Olympics from Sochi. By Melanie Nathan, August 07, 2013. U.S. President Barack Obama today criticized a new Russian law cracking down on gay rights activism, saying he has “no patience for countries that try to treat gays and lesbians and transgender persons in ways that intimidate them or are harmful […]
Russia Spills Gay Blood We Spill Russian Vodka at SAN FRANCISCO CITY HALL By Melanie Nathan. August 07, 2013. “Russia Spills Gay Blood We Spill Russian Vodka” read my sign today, as I joined my fellow activists from Gays Without Borders, when we poured Russian vodka onto San Francisco’s street outside City Hall and called […]
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“The contradiction glares when HRC asks the IOC to ensure “special treatment’ for American athletes and visitors. I find it unconscionable of HRC not to be taking the ultimate stand for a BOYCOTT of the Olympic SOCHI Games in Russia and using their immense power and membership to demand that IOC move the games out […]
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Protest Part of Global LGBT Solidarity Campaign By Melanie Nathan, August 02, 2013. San Francisco, CA — On Saturday, August 3, 2013, at 12:00 pm (noon) San Franciscans will gather at the Russian Consulate at 2790 Green Street (near Baker Street) to protest new anti-gay laws passed in Russia that subject LGBT Russians and foreign […]
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by Cathy Kristofferson, June 28, 2013 Today 5 same-gender couples applied for marriage licenses in the registry office in the Admiralty Side, a district of St. Petersburg, Russia. Officials at the registry explained that the licenses are only intended for couples of opposite gender and sent them on their way. This is a bold move in […]
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By Cathy Kristofferson, June 10, 2013 Update 6/30: President Putin today signed this bill into law. Proponents argue it is for the protection of children, but critics still allege it part of a broad crackdown on Russia’s LGBT community. For his part Mr. Putin tells international critics “We ask you not to interfere in our […]
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