US gay bars boycott Russian vodka to protest anti-gay laws



Gay bars in Chicago and West Hollywood have removed Stolichnaya Vodka from their shelves to protest over Russia’s anti-gay laws.
According to Windy City Times, the Sidetrack gay bar in Chicago announced through their Facebook page that they wouldn’t be serving Stoli vodka:We cannot in good conscience continue to serve a brand like Stolichnaya, which is so closely associated with Russia, given the laws that have been passed recently.
Russian President Vladimir Putin recently signed legislation that stigmatizes gay people and prevents children from getting information on homosexuality. The ban on “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations,” was passed unanimously by Russia’s parliament.
According to The Guardian, this law is:An effort to promote traditional Russian values over western liberalism, which the Kremlin and the Russian Orthodox Church see as corrupting Russian youth and contributing to the protests against Putin's rule.
Gay activists have taken on Twitter to promote the boycott on Stoli vodka with the hash tags #DumpRussianVodka and #DumpStoli. Athletes are also been called to boycott the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games that will take place in Russia.
Stolichnaya vodka is a brand of SPI Group, which is based in Luxembourg. It is produced in Latvia sing Russian ingredients. Last week, the head of the SPI group, Val Mendeleev, published an open letter supporting the LGBT community and condemning Russia’s actions:We fully support and endorse your objectives to fight against prejudice in Russia. In the past decade, SPI has been actively advocating in favor of freedom, tolerance and openness in society, standing very passionately on the side of the LGBT community and will continue to support any effective initiative in that direction.

The anti-gay law in Russia fines individuals and groups, including media groups, who are found guilty of spreading information on homosexuality, and it has special fines for foreigners, which will certainly affect LGBT tourism in the country.
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