LGBT campaigners boycott vodka in protest at Russian gay rights abuses - even though their main target isn't made in Russia

Dump Russian Vodka campaign spawns #DumpStoli hashtag even though Stolichnaya made in Latvia by a company based in Luxembourg

An LGBT activist's call for a boycott of Russia’s most famous export has gained international attention this week as concerns over Russian gay rights abuses mount.

Writer and activist Dan Savage penned a blog post encouraging the public to follow his campaign slogan and ‘Dump Russian Vodka’  to “show 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”.

The move comes in response to the anti-gay laws passed in June this year, which give authorities the power to arrest and detain foreign nationals who are suspected of being homosexual. Russia also has laws that make it illegal to produce what is considered “gay propaganda”. On 22 July, four Dutch nationals were arrested and released pending a trial for allegedly distributing 'gay propaganda'.

The campaign started on 24 July and quickly went viral, with several American and Canadian bars, such as the Fountainhead in Vancouver, now refusing to serve Russian brands of the spirit. Other UK bars, including Soho’s KU bar and G-A-Y have also followed suit, advertising that they only serve non-Russian brands of vodka.

Dump Russian Vodka, which enjoys backing from Queer Nation and the Russia LGBT network, uses the hashtag #DumpStoli to target the country's most famous brand, Stolichnaya.

Mr Savage’s campaign prompted a response from Val Mendeleev, head of the SPI group which produces Stolichnaya. In an open letter he explained that although Stoli has roots in Russia, the vodka is made with Russian ingredients but is actually produced in Latvia and the company is based in Luxembourg.

A leading Russian gay rights campaigner, the lawyer Nikolai Alekseev, who is head of the Moscow Pride organising committee, said that although it has good intentions the campaign was misguided, according to the Guardian.

He said: “They mixed everything up. Stolichnaya isn't Russian.” He continued: “This is all good for attracting attention to the situation in Russia, like any other action, such as a boycott of the Olympics, but it will not drastically change anything”.

The open letter from the SPI group went on to criticise the Russian government for limiting LGBT rights and the company’s Facebook banner for Stolichnaya was updated to show a multi-coloured banner saying the brand “stands strong and proud with the global LGBT community against the attitude and actions of the Russian government”.

The other brand targeted by the campaign, Russian Standard, is produced in Russia and has not commented.

The UK LGBT Network said: “I think any campaign is worthwhile which highlights the abhorrent attitude of the Russian Government and brings the discriminatory treatment of the LGBT community in Russia to the fore. The DumpStoli campaign will put the situation in Russia under the spotlight and at the fore of people's minds.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
News
Robert De Niro has walked off the set of Edge of Darkness
news The Godfather Part II actor has an estimated wealth of over $200m
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

Recruitment Genius: Product Quality Assurance Technologist - Hardline & Electric

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...

Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower