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Posts Tagged ‘Vladamir Putin’

The IOC, Stoli Vodka and NBC Respond to Boycotts/Petitions Stemming from Russian Anti-Gay Laws

Last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a bill into law that bans ”propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” and threatens openly gay or “pro-gay” citizens and foreigners with fines, arrests and possible jail time. Another new law restricts adoptions of Russian children by people in countries that allow same-sex marriage.

With the 2014 Winter Olympics set to take place in Sochi, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) says it has received assurances ”from the highest level of government in Russia that the legislation will not affect those attending or taking part in the Games.” It pledged to ensure there would be no discrimination against athletes, officials, spectators or the media during the games.

Many equal-rights activists are unimpressed with the IOC’s response, and feel that whether or not the laws directly affect the games is far from the point. ”They should be advocating for the safety of all LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) people in Russia, not simply those visiting for the Olympics,” said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin. ”Rescinding this heinous law must be our collective goal.”

In order to make their voices heard, activists have been writing petitions and staging boycotts.

The “Dump Russian Vodka” campaign, started by internationally syndicated sex columnist Dan Savage, has prompted bars across the US, UK, Canada and Australia to stop serving Russian brands like Stolichnaya. In response, Stolichnaya’s CEO Val Mendeleev wrote an open letter last week condemning the recent laws and reaffirming the brand’s commitment to the LGBT community. The brand’s website has also undergone an overhaul, and now features a rainbow block of text boasting that the brand “stands strong and proud with the global LGBT community against the attitude and actions of the Russian government.” (We’d call this a winning damage control response) Read more

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Russian Punks Headed for Jail after Winning the Week

Yes, it’s true that a Russian “court” sentenced all three members of feminist punk band Pussy Riot to two years in prison today on hilariously trumped-up charges of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” (yeah, OK…), but we feel like they won the news cycle in their own way.

For one thing, very few people outside of Russia–and only a few more within it–had any interest in the group before this story broke a few weeks ago (and based on their music, we can see why), but their unfortunate name is now common knowledge in news rooms and living rooms around the globe.

Large-scale protests among the country’s cultural and intellectual elite couldn’t stop Vladamir Putin from reclaiming the presidency in a fairly blatant show of vote-fixing earlier this year, but these three ladies knew how to win the attention of both the government and the outside world: A couple of weeks before the election, they staged what can only be described as a publicity stunt in a Moscow Catholic church, dancing around in hoods that look like they came from American Apparel‘s fall line and chanting a song whose lyrics demand that the Virgin Mary “Drive away Putin.”

Sure, the move alienated some older, more traditional members of the body politic, but the way we see it, the whole ordeal was a big PR win for the band and its ideological allies…and a major loss for the Putin government. Read more