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Late Night: Russia’s Mess

Russia is a mess, as this video shows. They can’t drive, and now with many in the US boycotting Stolichnaya vodka and other Russian booze brands in protest of Putin’s crackdown on LGBT, the populace will have a lot more to drink, which will only make the driving worse. There are so many accidents in Russia, real and staged, that dashcams are the norm. Wow. Just wow. Want to see how bad Russia is aside from the driving, look at these photos from Buzzfeed.

Meanwhile West Hollywood bars are planning on dumping their Stoli down the drain and boycott the vodka brand. Stoli’s parent company is owned by one of Russia’s 100 richest men.

Val Mendeleev, CEO of Stoli’s parent company SPI Group, issued an open letter to the LGBT community, citing the company’s position as a “fervent supporter and friend” of the gay community. The letter also pointed out that SPI is headquartered in Luxembourg, and production of Stoli products takes place in both Latvia and Russia. Regardless, say boycott participants, SPI owner Yuri Scheffler is Russian, and the company is inextricably linked to the country.

West Hollywood councilmember John Duran has a snappy comeback:

I’ve looked for evidence of their fervent support but all I can find is sponsoring Gay Pride festivals so they can sell gays they product. That’s not supporting the community; that’s marketing your brand to the community.

Dan Savage, who called for the boycott which began in Florida and Chicago, has this to say:

SPI is a Russian corporation, Stoli is a Russian vodka. And while it’s nice that SPI is willing to market to homos who are lucky enough to live in Austria, the US, and South Africa, what has SPI done in Russia? The group has sponsored gay pride events in Vienna and Miami. That’s nice. But have they sponsored gay pride events in Moscow or St. Petersburg? Val says that Stoli is upset and angry. That’s nice. So has Stoli said anything to the Russian authorities? Has Yuri Scheffler expressed his anger in an open letter to Vladimir Putin? Did the SPI Group speak the fuck up before the Russian government passed a law that made it a crime to be openly gay and a crime to publicly support someone who is openly gay? Frankly I’m not interested in Stoli’s marketing efforts in the West. I’m interested in what this Russian-owned company is doing in Russia. And from this letter it’s clear they’ve done and they only plan on doing squat.

And just for a reminder:

Just six months before Russia hosts the 2014 Winter Games, Mr. Putin signed a law allowing police officers to arrest tourists and foreign nationals they suspect of being homosexual, lesbian or “pro-gay” and detain them for up to 14 days…. Earlier in June, Mr. Putin signed yet another antigay bill, classifying “homosexual propaganda” as pornography. The law is broad and vague, so that any teacher who tells students that homosexuality is not evil, any parents who tell their child that homosexuality is normal, or anyone who makes pro-gay statements deemed accessible to someone underage is now subject to arrest and fines. Even a judge, lawyer or lawmaker cannot publicly argue for tolerance without the threat of punishment.

CommunityLaFiga

Late Night: Russia’s Mess

Russia is a mess, as this video shows. They can’t drive, and now with many in the US boycotting Stolichnaya vodka and other Russian booze brands in protest of Putin’s crackdown on LGBT, the populace will have a lot more to drink. Which will only make the driving worse.  There are so many accidents in Russia, real and staged, that dashcams are the norm. Wow. Just wow. Want to see how bad Russia is aside from the driving, look at these photos from Buzzfeed.

Meanwhile West Hollywood bars are planning on dumping their Stoli down the drain and boycott the vodka brand. Stoli’s parent company is owned by one of Russia’s 100 richest men.

Val Mendeleev, CEO of Stoli’s parent company SPI Group, issued an open letter to the LGBT community, citing the company’s position as a “fervent supporter and friend” of the gay community. The letter also pointed out that SPI is headquartered in Luxembourg, and production of Stoli products takes place in both Latvia and Russia. Regardless, say boycott participants, SPI owner Yuri Scheffler is Russian, and the company is inextricably linked to the country.

West Hollywood councilmember John Duran has a snappy comeback:

I’ve looked for evidence of their fervent support but all I can find is sponsoring Gay Pride festivals so they can sell gays they product. That’s not supporting the community; that’s marketing your brand to the community.

Dan Savage, who called for the boycott which began in Florida and Chicago, has this to say:

SPI is a Russian corporation, Stoli is a Russian vodka. And while it’s nice that SPI is willing to market to homos who are lucky enough to live in Austria, the US, and South Africa, what has SPI done in Russia? The group has sponsored gay pride events in Vienna and Miami. That’s nice. But have they sponsored gay pride events in Moscow or St. Petersburg? Val says that Stoli is upset and angry. That’s nice. So has Stoli said anything to the Russian authorities? Has Yuri Scheffler expressed his anger in an open letter to Vladimir Putin? Did the SPI Group speak the fuck up before the Russian government passed a law that made it a crime to be openly gay and a crime to publicly support someone who is openly gay? Frankly I’m not interested in Stoli’s marketing efforts in the West. I’m interested in what this Russian-owned company is doing in Russia. And from this letter it’s clear they’ve done and they only plan on doing squat.

And just for a reminder:

Just six months before Russia hosts the 2014 Winter Games, Mr. Putin signed a law allowing police officers to arrest tourists and foreign nationals they suspect of being homosexual, lesbian or “pro-gay” and detain them for up to 14 days…. Earlier in June, Mr. Putin signed yet another antigay bill, classifying “homosexual propaganda” as pornography. The law is broad and vague, so that any teacher who tells students that homosexuality is not evil, any parents who tell their child that homosexuality is normal, or anyone who makes pro-gay statements deemed accessible to someone underage is now subject to arrest and fines. Even a judge, lawyer or lawmaker cannot publicly argue for tolerance without the threat of punishment.

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Lisa Derrick

Lisa Derrick

Los Angeles native, attended UC Berkeley and Loyola Marymount University before punk rock and logophilia overtook her life. Worked as nightclub columnist, pop culture journalist and was a Hollywood housewife before writing for and editing Sacred History Magazine. Then she discovered the thrill of politics. She also appears frequently on the Dave Fanning Show, one of Ireland's most popular radio broadcasts.