Prominent Russian LGBT activist Nikolai Alekseev has long been the poster child for battling homophobic legislation in Russia. For years, he has personally spearheaded efforts to bring an official LGBT Pride festival to the streets of Moscow, taken his battle to the courts, and has been beaten, bruised, and thrown in jail because of it.
This week, he’s responding to calls for a boycott of Russian vodka, insisting there’s “no point” in boycotting beverages, calling it a “symbolic gesture doomed to failure,” according to Gay Star News.
“To be honest, I don’t see the point in boycotting the Russian vodka,” he said. “It will impact anyone except the companies involved a little bit. The effect will die out very fast, it will not last forever…The producers, even if they become bankrupt because of the boycott (which is unlikely) will not be able to influence Russian politics and President Putin as well as the decisions of the State Duma.”
In place of a boycott, Alekseev said “targeting homophobic lawmakers” is the best course of action. The smartest way to do this, in his opinion, is to pressure other governments to add the authors of Russia’s “gay propaganda” law to visa ban lists, which would effectively lock them inside the country.
“Pressure your governments to put the authors of those laws on the black lists for the entrance visas,” Alekseev added. “They will suffer and others will think twice. Nothing else will work!”
Yesterday, Stoli CEO Val Mendeleev issued a letter stating the company “has always been, and continues to be, a fervent supporter and friend to the LGBT community.” Last night, Stoli’s Facebook page got a super-gay makeover with the revival of their #StoliPride campaign. Currently, company officials are responding to many disgruntled patrons in an open forum in the #StoliPride post’s comments section.