Dear readers, as Vancouver’s Pride Parade is about to go on this week, the hype around the Russian vodka boycott is getting heated in our city. I would like to present you with a response from Lena who lives in Belarus as an example of a fresh perspective on the topic.
by Lena, Belarus
Putin, Russian Vodka and Gays
Putin, Russian vodka and gays, what is the connection? If you ask this question nowadays, people may think that you are completely ignorant or you live on an uninhabited island. Russia issued anti-gay laws, that caused protests in America and activists suggested to boycott Russian vodka. Sounds ridiculous, but this is the truth.
Here we do not talk about sexual minorities. Maybe because there are not so many of them. By the way, just to specify “Here” means not in Russia. I am from Belarus. And here we really do not pay special attention to sexual minorities. People like millions of others, they work, eat, drink, relax… usual activities. We do not see any reason to speak about them too much or to forbid them to live. Politicians organize parades and shows to honor themselves. Why not gays then? I don’t think they are worse. But if you think so, you can give me reasons why.
I also do not understand what this anti-gay law is for. Why then not anti-criminals law? Criminals who took people`s lives are not forbidden, they stay in prison, eat and drink for money that we pay as taxes.
Well, Putin knows better, maybe gays are more dangerous that criminals. Here we have the same culture as Russia, I wouldn’t say that we are more democratic or more developed. We have the same religion, the same traditions. But we judge people according to their personality, their attitude to us, not by their nation or race or whether they belong to sexual minority or not.
Now about vodka. How is vodka connected with gays and Russian legislation? Completely different thing is Olympic Games in Sochi. This for sure would have influence. But I do not think that such kind of boycott can be supported by majority of people. Russia have always been and still is a great country with strong traditions and unique culture, and visiting Olympic Games can be a good reason for many foreigners to discover Russia. America can boycott the Olympic Games, but since it’s Europe here, and Europeans will gladly use such an opportunity.
But right, if Olympic Games are boycotted, this will be a good reason for Russia to think about gays once more. Though again gays will be accused, as nobody would accuse for this the Russian government. If any kind of boycotting will make the Russian government change their mind? I do not think, so, they for sure were ready for protests. At least they could forecast that there will be unsatisfied people.
Ah, by the way, again to vodka. I don’t think that boycotting of Russian vodka Stolichnaya will support the Russian gays or will make the Russian government think. It would be more logical to boycott Russian products rather than Latvian, as Stolichnaya is neither produced nor bottled in Russia any more. Anyway, the Russian government will be grateful for such protests as they wanted to get that brand back. That is why before running to streets and yelling about protests maybe better to ask yourself a question: who will have the main profit from it? In this case this is Russia who will take the main advantage.