The truth about Russian Vodka Boycotts, Stoli Stolichnaya and ALL OUT Boycotts

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.

Screen Shot 2013-08-06 at 4.37.07 PMUpdates 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:-

1148838_10151766507532726_583215798_nSome 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:

Russia is an Essential Part of the Brand
“The grain is 100% Russian and we have thousands of hectares of land 400 kilometers south of Moscow… The part Russia plays is an essential element in our brand education. It’s where the brand was born and where our grain comes from today.”
— SPI Group CEO Val Mendeleev, May 29, 2013 in The Spirits Business (link below)

Best Known Russian Product
“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
Question: “Are you saying now that [Stolichnaya’s] not Russian vodka?”
Answer: “No.”
—SPI CEO Mendeleev interview with SIRIUSXM radio host Michelangelo Signorile, July 31, 2013 (link below)

Authentic Russian Vodka, says Stolichnaya Distributor
“Stolichnaya, as it is sold outside of Russia, is distilled in Russia. And then it is moved from Russia to Latvia, where it is put into bottles. There is nothing added, nothing taken away, no additions, no subtractions from the product that leaves Russia…Stolichnaya is the original, authentic, genuine Russian vodka brand made with genuine, authentic Russian vodka from Russia. Period. Absolutely no doubt about it.”
— Ian Jameson, President of then Stolichnaya distributor Pernod Ricard, November 2008, Vanity Fair UK

“Stoli is a world renowned brand and we are delighted to be working with Russia’s authentic vodka to develop even greater trade and consumer knowledge and awareness.”
— David Roberts, of Stoli’s then ad agency, Multiply, August 26, 2009

SPI Sells its Other Vodka Brands in Russia
“Our local vodkas represent all that is best about Russia’s favourite drink…Kaznacheyskaya is a quality brand created for the Russian market, designed to evoke a sense of national status… Kaznacheyskaya is all about pride 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
SPI Group is a Major Player in Russian Real Estate

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:- Screen Shot 2013-08-07 at 8.08.02 PM

Queer Nation is a direct action group dedicated to ending discrimination, violence and repression against the LGBT community.  @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.  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.  @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.

[email protected]

President Obama Condemns Russia’s Anti-Gay laws

by on August 6, 2013 in Advocacy & Activism, Boycotts, CULTURE, EVENTS, LGBT, MEDIA, NEWS, Russia, WORLD

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 […]

San Francisco LGBT community calls on Mayor Ed Lee to Boycott Russia

by on August 6, 2013 in Advocacy & Activism, EVENTS, Law, LGBT, MEDIA, NEWS, Rally, Russia, TOURISM, WORLD

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 […]

Gay teenager kidnapped and tortured by Russian homophobes believed to have died from injuries

by on August 5, 2013 in Advocacy & Activism, CRIME, EVENTS, LGBT, NEWS, Rally, Russia, U.S.A., WORLD

YOU SPILL GAY BLOOD WE SPILL RUSSIAN VODKA | Noon San Francisco City Hall August 06, 2013. By Melanie Nathan, August 05, 2013. PINKNews is Reporting  and we have not yet independently verified: The gay teenager who was kidnapped and tortured by Russian neo-Nazis has died from his injuries it has been claimed. Spectrum Human […]

HRC Leading U.S. Gays in failing to take the ultimate stand against Russia’s anti-Gay laws

by on August 5, 2013 in POLITICAL VIEWS, LGBT, NEWS, WORLD, Russia, SPORTS, EVENTS, Sport, Olympics, Advocacy & Activism, Boycotts

“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 […]

U.S. House Reps send Letter to Kerry about Anti-Gay 2014 Olympic Games in Russia

by on August 2, 2013 in Advocacy & Activism, NEWS, Olympics, Russia, SPORTS, WORLD

Rep. Nadler Leads Bipartisan Letter to Protect LGBT Rights at 2014 Olympic Games in Russia By Melanie Nathan, August 2, 2013 WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-10), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, lead a bipartisan letter to Secretary of State John Kerry regarding the protection […]

Gays to Fly Rainbow Flag Outside Russian Consulate in San Francisco

by on August 2, 2013 in Advocacy & Activism, EVENTS, LGBT, NEWS, Rally, Russia, WORLD

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 […]

Russian Sports Minister confirms Olympic athletes are NOT exempt

by on August 1, 2013 in Advocacy & Activism, LGBT, NEWS, Olympics, Russia, Sport, SPORTS

“…but if he goes onto the street and starts propagandizing it, then of course he will be held accountable” By Cathy Kristofferson, August 1, 2013 A series of tweets from @r_sport, who bills themselves as the “Official host news agency for @Sochi2014″, alerted me to renewed confirmation that Sochi Olympic athletes will NOT in fact be […]

Protests of Russian Violations of LGBT Human Rights at U.S. Embassy and Consulates

by on July 31, 2013 in Advocacy & Activism, LGBT, NEWS, Rally, Russia, U.S.A.

By Cathy Kristofferson, July 31, 2013 Today kicked off Embassy and Consulate protests in the U.S. against Russia’s LGBT human rights violations with actions in New York City, Washington D.C., and San Francisco. We have blogged on the protests as actions people can take to help raise awareness about the worsening conditions for the Russian […]

10 Actions you can take against Russia | shocking video of Russian Gay Teen torture

by on July 26, 2013 in Advocacy & Activism, CRIME, LGBT, NEWS, Russia, VIDEO, WORLD

10 ways to STOP the Russian terror of Gays By Melanie Nathan, July 26, 2013. Anti-gay sentiment and violence against LGBTI people has been a Russian habit for some time. However in recent months it has escalated with lack of basic law and order, exacerbated by Vladamir Putin’s legislative onslaught through various laws that criminalize […]

U.S. Christian Extremist Sees Russia’s New Homophobic Laws as Model

by on July 22, 2013 in Advocacy & Activism, LGBT, MARRIAGE EQUALITY, NEWS, RELIGION, Russia

“I can’t point to any country of the world today that is a model for the rest of the world, except perhaps for Russia” Scott Lively, radical Christian extremist By Cathy Kristofferson, July 22, 2013 For a while we have been following the ramped up anti-gay extremism taking place in Russia, which culminated with the […]

Russia arrests Dutch tourists on gay propaganda charges

by on July 21, 2013 in Advocacy & Activism, CRIME, LGBT, NEWS, Olympics, POLITICAL VIEWS, Russia, TOURISM

How will this not happen during the Olympics! By Cathy Kristofferson, July 21, 2013 Updates posted below. So it has begun.  Russia today arrested tourists ‘violating’ their new anti-gay propaganda law.About an hour ago, the LGBT Russian Network posted on their Facebook wall: “URGENT NEWS! In Murmansk city (North Russia) 3 Dutch citizens detained by the […]

Is Belarus following Russia’s footsteps to ban ‘gay propaganda’?

by on July 10, 2013 in Law, LGBT, NEWS, POLITICAL VIEWS, Russia

‘Protecting children from the ”advancement and promotion of homosexuality, especially among minors.”‘ By Cathy Kristofferson, July 09, 2013 A few weeks ago rumor had it that Belarus was looking to be the first country in Europe to re-criminalize homosexuality by amending its Criminal Code, to punish gays with up to 10 years imprisonment and confiscation of their […]

Renewed calls for Olympic boycott as gay arrests continue in Russia

by on July 2, 2013 in CRIME, EVENTS, Law, LGBT, NEWS, Olympics, Organizations, Rally, Russia, Sport, SPORTS

An action to demonstrate the danger of  the new anti-LGBT laws By Cathy Kristofferson, July 2, 2013 Amidst current graphic protests, there is a renewed call for the boycott of the Sochi Olympics, as gay arrests continue in Russia following President Putin’s signing into law the nationwide so-called “anti-propaganda bill,” banning the so called ‘promotion’ […]

Violent Arrests at pro-Gay Rally in Russia

by on June 29, 2013 in LGBT, NEWS, Pride, Rally, Russia

Clashes lead to arrests and detentions at St. Petersburg “Ravnopraviye” Pride Event By Cathy Kristofferson, June 29, 2013 Today in St. Petersburg, Russia pro-and anti-gay supporters clashed at a gay pride event organized by ”Ravnopraviye” (Equal Rights.) The event had been sanctioned by the authorities.  The rally-march was organized to protest recent legislation banning “promotion of non-traditional […]

Same gender couples risking arrest apply for Marriage Licenses in Russia

by on June 28, 2013 in Law, LGBT, MARRIAGE EQUALITY, NEWS, Russia

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 […]

Call to Boycott Olympics in homophobic Russia reminds of Apartheid South Africa

by on June 19, 2013 in Law, LGBT, NEWS, Pride, RELIGION, Russia, Sport

“If they feel strongly about human rights they should boycott the Olympics in Sochi.” By Cathy Kristofferson, June 18, 2013 RUSA LGBT, a Russian-Speaking American LGBTQ group in New York City, is calling for a boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The lower house of the Russian Duma  last week unanimously passed their […]

Russian bill set to stop adoption to nations allowing same-sex marriage

by on June 18, 2013 in Adoption, CULTURE, FAMILY, Law, LGBT, NEWS, Parenting, Russia, WORLD

The Bill is based on myth as expounded by Russian Deputy Speaker, who said:  “If a child ends up with a homosexual couple, it could cause severe damage and the child ends up with a distorted perception of reality.” By Melanie Nathan, June 18, 2013. As same-sex marriage is increasing in acceptance around the world, […]

Protests and arrests as Russia’s State Duma passes anti-gay promotion bill unanimously

by on June 11, 2013 in Law, LGBT, NEWS, Russia

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 […]

Scott Lively poised to cause more anti-gay persecution | An odious letter to the Russian people

by on February 23, 2013 in FAMILY, LGBT, NEWS, RELIGION, Russia, WORLD

“The purpose of my visit was to bring a warning about the homosexual political movement which has done much damage to my country and which has now taken root in Russia. This is a very fast-growing social cancer that will destroy the family foundations of your society if you do not take immediate, effective action […]

Russia | Pussy Riot Rock Group Arrested Protesting Putin & Sex Tourism

by on January 20, 2012 in CULTURE, MEDIA, NEWS, Russia, VIDEO, WORLD

Russian police detained a punk group called Pussy Riot on Friday after they performed a protest song criticising Vladimir Putin next to Saint Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow. The Pussy Riot an all-female band, wearing  brightly colored mini-dresses and balaclavas, were arrested after their protest song slammed  the “Putin-system,” prostitution, and sexism. The all female group, […]

Five Gay Activists Arrested as third Russian Region Passes Anti-gay Laws

by on December 30, 2011 in Uncategorized { Edit }

By Guest writer Paul Canning, Dec 30, 2011 And Other Russian matter for consideration- A third Russian region has passed an anti-gay law banning LGBT organizing and public actions. Five activists have been arrested whilst protesting the law.   Kostroma, a region located 300 km north east of Moscow, has become the third Russian region to […]

Pro-Democracy Russian Movement Homophobic Rejection of LGBT Protestors

by on December 30, 2011 in LGBT, NEWS, Russia, WORLD

“He was then taken away by the police out of the demonstration and told he will not be allowed to use the rainbow flag in the protest any further.”  30 December 2011 | By Guest Dan Littauer LGBT political activists in Russia are reporting abuse  at Pro-Democracy rallies across the country through  gay protestors being […]

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to be Quizzed Over anti-gay laws.

by on December 13, 2011 in LGBT, NEWS, Russia, WORLD

by Paul Canning, Dec 13, 2011- The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton, told activists today that she would raise the discriminatory laws at the EU-Russia summit.  She received in Brussels a 246,000 petition along with the Presidents of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBT rights, Michael Cashman and Ulrike […]

Dutch tourists accused of gay propaganda freed

by on July 22, 2013 in Advocacy & Activism, CRIME, Law, LGBT, NEWS, Russia

“They were discussing human rights when suddenly the police and migration officers burst inside.” By Cathy Kristofferson, July 22, 2013 Today a court hearing scheduled in Murmansk, Russia for the Dutch tourists arrested on ‘gay propaganda’ charges. It would seem that the judge did not hear the matter but rather “returned the case materials for […]

Moldova secretly adopts anti-propaganda law

by on July 18, 2013 in Europe, Law, LGBT, NEWS, Pride, WORLD

“Politicians specifically sought to avoid debating the bill in public.” By Cathy Kristofferson, July 18, 2013 An article introduced in the Parliament of Moldova on May 23rd titled “Public activities with negative impact on minors” has now been secretly passed and adopted.  Today, the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBT Rights is reporting that “A new […]

Hypocrisy of Edward Snowden | If he was gay Putin could arrest him

by on July 15, 2013 in Advocacy & Activism, LGBT, NEWS, Russia, WORLD

by Melanie Nathan, July 15, 2013. Does Edward Snowden know that if he said one pro-gay or LGBTI supportive word Putin could arrest him and he could go to jail? I find Snowden’s actions in complimenting the Russian authorities and their human rights record self serving, unnecessary and nothing more than one big Putanic arse-lick […]

Academy Award winner risks arrest by waving rainbow flag in Red Square Moscow

by on July 4, 2013 in Advocacy & Activism, LGBT, NEWS, Russia

Will the Olympic athletes attending the Sochi Olympic Games follow her lead? By Cathy Kristofferson, July 4, 2013 Academy award winning actress Tilda Swinton yesterday risked arrest by standing with a rainbow flag in Red Square Moscow in clear violation of Russia’s new national so-called anti-gay “promotion” law. The picture was posted to Twitter by […]

Scott Lively incites war against the homosexualization of states

by on July 2, 2013 in Law, LGBT, NEWS, RELIGION, SCOTUS, U.S.A.

“But resistance is NOT futile and we must never surrender to evil.” By Cathy Kristofferson, July 2, 2013 Posting on his blog today, SPLC-designated anti-gay hater Scott Lively boasted that his prediction came to fruition; yes he was right that one of the two SCOTUS marriage cases did indeed “go to the homosexual movement.”  But […]

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6 Comments on “The truth about Russian Vodka Boycotts, Stoli Stolichnaya and ALL OUT Boycotts”

  1. pinkagendist August 8, 2013 at 2:57 AM #

    Absolut vodka is the real gay vodka :D


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