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Russian vodka boycotted amid Ukraine crisis

Just months after the LGBT community boycotted Russian vodka, the spirit has once again been thrown into political controversy as retailers protest Russia’s bid to seize Crimea from the Ukraine.

Russia-vodka-boycott-Ukraine
A number of alcohol retailers have boycotted Russian vodka amid controversy over the Ukrainian crisis

A number of small alcohol retailers in the US have taken Russian vodka off their shelves amid worldwide controversy over Russia’s move to occupy Ukriane’s Crimean peninsula.

Big Johnson Liquor & Beer, in Abilene, Texas, has removed various Russian vodka brands from its shelves in opposition to Russian action.

Johnny Johnson, owner of the store, said that he “just didn’t agree with the aggression Russia took on Ukraine” and that despite having already purchased the bottles for sale, he would “rather not take the money” from customers, instead pouring three cases of stock into the street.

Tennessee retailer Bob’s Package Store also pulled Russian vodka from its shelves, posting a sign outside announcing a boycott.

Meanwhile in the UK, Cambridge University’s Ukrainian Society pulled out of a vodka party with a Russian group.

Russian vodka also was the subject of political action last summer, when members of the global LGBT community boycotted products in response to the country’s new law that bans “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” among minors in Russia.

In particular, activists targeted Stolichnaya vodka, prompting Val Mendeleev, chief executive of the brand’s parent company SPI Group, to publish an open letter pledging support to the LGBT community.

The Ukrainian crisis began in November 2013 when President Viktor Yanukovych dropped out of an EU deal in favour of stronger ties with Moscow.

The president fled the country on 22 February amid violent protests which resulted in the deaths of more than 80 people. Pro-Russia troops then took control of Crimea, which has been part of Ukraine since 1954.

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