Gay pride protesters beaten by angry mobs while uncaring police look the other way; tourists being arrested for displaying anything but a fluent rejection of homosexuality; raids on gay clubs and public shaming of their patrons. The United States around the time of the Stonewall Riots in 1969, right?
No. Russia, right now in 2013. It is illegal there to support LGBT people, to profess pro-queer sympathies, or, heaven forfend, to actually be anything except completely and uncompromisingly straight. How long did you hold on to that man's hand after shaking it, Pyotr? Lyuki, naruchniki, porvanniy rot'--it's jail for you.
I think that's bullshit from a country about to host the world's athletes in Sochi, and so does Dan Savage. But boycotting Russia is not as easy as renaming freedom fries (though we'll need to come up with a similarly stupid nomenclature for Russian dressing), except for the big V--vodka. Savage has called for a boycott of all Russian vodkas. There are a thousand brands of vodka, though; how do you know which ones to pick to replace your Russian Standard?
Sure, you could stay with the tried and true: Belvedere, Ketel One for rich people, and Popov for 18-year-olds who have to settle for whatever they can get. Or you could realize that sometimes the fancy bottle costs more than the liquid inside, and try one of the following vodkas from countries that don't criminalize being gay in public.
Two notes before the list: First, Stolichnaya has released a letter from their headquarters in Luxembourg stating that they oppose the Russian government's actions and restating their commitment to the LGBT community; use your own judgment. Second, the prices listed are the cost of a fifth (750 mL) at Hi-Time Wine, Orange County's best liquor store. Prices and availability may vary.More »