Russian LGBT Activists: Boycott of All Things Russian, Olympics

Russian LGBT Activists and Supporters Call for Boycott of Russian Products and Winter Olympics

New York, NY (July 28, 2013) — In a bold statement sent today to Queer Nation, 23 leading LGBT Russian activists and their supporters called for a broad boycott of Russian products and the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi.

“International support is essential for the survival of Russia's LGBT community right now,” the July 28  statement read. “We appreciate and support all attempts to let the Russian authorities know that  homophobic and inhumane laws will not go unnoticed and that Vladimir Putin's regime will not get away  with antigay violence.”

The statement is an unambiguous endorsement of the “Dump Russian Vodka” campaign called for by Queer Nation, Dan Savage, Cleve Jones and other leading LGBT activists worldwide. The statement also endorses actor Harvey Fierstein’s impassioned call in the New York Times for a boycott of the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.

“At great personal risk, these LGBT activists, their allies and organizations have called for our continued support,” said Alan Klein, a co-founder of Queer Nation. “Their courage inspires us to continue our work until such time as the Russian government repeals this anti-gay law.”

In June, the Russian Duma passed a law that barred pro-LGBT discussions and displays in public and on the Internet. Since the law was enacted, LGBT Russians and foreign LGBT nationals have endured violence and arrests.

Queer Nation expects that there will be additional endorsers on the Russian activists’ statement. The statement and list of signatories follows:

Dear Friends,

International support is essential for the survival of Russia's LGBT community right now. We appreciate and support all attempts to let the Russian authorities know that homophobic and inhumane laws will not go unnoticed and that Vladimir Putin's regime will not get away with antigay violence. We speak out in favor of boycotting Russian goods and companies and the Olympic Games in Sochi. We also appreciate the attention of international media; we need it. We would also support any legislative initiative aimed at holding the Russian authorities accountable for their homophobic campaign. Thank you for being with us in our hour of need.

Masha Gessen, author, journalist, activist
Kseniya Kirichenko, lawyer and legal scholar
Alexei Davydov, Radical Faggots Union; political council member of the Moscow chapter of the Solidarity Movement
Maria Baronova, activist, Bolotnoye Case defendant
Alexander Artemyev, journalist
Olga Krause, poet, musician, activist
Tasha Granovskaya, social worker, LGBT activist
Bulat Barantaev, Homosexuals, Relatives and Friends Movement; member of the political council,Novosibirsk chapter of the Solidarity Movement
Mitya Aleshkovsky, photographer, activist
Karen Shainyan, journalist
Galina Chachanova, freelance translator
Yana Mandrykina, attorney
Elena Nikitina
Alexander Agapov, editor,
Elena Rifat Hakimova, activist
Olga Kurachyova, journalist, LGBT activist
Zlata Bossina, Quarteera e.V., an organization for Russian-speaking LGBT and friends in Germany
Tagira Abdullayeva, LGBT activist, medical neurologist
Anastasia Putseva, business consultant
Tasya Krugovykh, filmmaker
Yulia Selezen, philologist
Anna Mikhailina
Akram Kubanychbek


MEDIA: For interviews with signatories to the Russian statement above, please contact Queer Nation at, or at the contact numbers listed above, with your requests.

Queer Nation is a direct action group that is dedicated to ending discrimination, violence and repression against the LGBT community.


  1. Leo says

    So it seems it’s down to two ambiguously broad sides on the next step regarding the Sochi Olympics: “boycott” or “stand in solidarity”.

    The Olympics, the NBC coverage of the Olympics, and the U.S. team’s participation are obviously all still very much on and that (likely) won’t change.

    For me, its

    1) no more Russian vodka [out of principle as opposed to actually trying to put a dent in their profits]

    2) signing the petition pressuring the NBC coverage sponsors (Samsung, Coca-Cola) to drop out

    3) solely watching out speed skater Blake Skjellerup’s coverage out of solidarity.

    Could I go to Sochi and scream in the public square whilst wearing a rainbow flag draped on my back? Sure. But until YOU plan on doing that too, don’t throw stones.

    My two cents.

  2. HillBilly says

    I do not believe the athletes should boycott the Olympic games. These young people train for years, so let them compete (and carry out every single fake gold, silver and bronze plated medal they can). But we the spectators; we are the ones who should be boycotting Sochi. Do not take yourselves or your money to Russia. Every Olympic venue relies on the influx of cash from the hoards of spectators to pay the construction and labor costs of hosting the Olympics. Turn the Sochi venue into the largest money pit in the World by simply watching from a safe distance. That’s my opinion, anyway.

  3. GMB says

    A boycott of Russian products — and attendance at the Olympics itself — I can understand, and support. But I hope the LGBT community realizes that the major corporate sponsors (Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Omega Watches, Price Waterhouse Coopers, etc.) have signed multi-year contracts that extend beyond one specific Olympic games. There’s no way they could contractually pull the sponsorship from Sochi 2014; the only thing they could *conceivably* do is not renew their sponsorship after Rio 2016, when their contracts are up for renewal. But if they were to do that, one of their competitors would swoop in and snatch up that sponsorship in a moment’s notice. The Worldwide Sponsorship spots are VERY highly coveted; the IOC only grants them to one brand within a particular category. And they’re a huge brand awareness and advertising feather in their cap.

    So let’s say that Coke pulled out… Pepsi would jump on in, ready to run a slew of ads in Pyeong Chang 2018 and beyond, without suffering any of the consequences from seeming to support Putin’s atrocious acts.

    It’s pointless to try to boycott the major global sponsors.

    What we MAY be able to do is get those companies (many of which have a 100 perfect score on the HRC Equality Index) to broadly proclaim their support in a visual, compelling way during the games. But that’s seriously as much as we could even consider asking for, when it comes to the major global sponsors.

    As for Russian vodka? I think a boycott will raise awareness here in the USA, more than anything. The handful of news stories and hubbub within the bars will help spread the word. And that may be enough to really make a dent, especially when real power figures get wind of it.

  4. tom says

    A boyott of Sochi, if it can gain momentum in both the US and EU, would have an enormous international effect on the Russian regime and it’s war on homosexuals. Without the threat of boycott and international isolation, they will be free to take even more drastic steps.

  5. melvin says

    Pointless to boycott global sponsors? The same logic dictates that it is pointless to argue with them either.

    So it’s just game over then?

    Look up, sheep.

  6. Rafael says

    I’m curious to know if Alex is still defending Comcast? He’ll probably make the case that they aren’t Russians, oh well.

  7. Jerry says

    My thought is that these particular activists might have consulted some athletes (particularly LGBT Olympians) before advancing this particular effort.

  8. JonnyNYNY2FLFL says

    Gay Russian athletes shouldn’t boycott the Olympic, they should win lots of metals.

    Becoming sports super stars is the best way to garner positive public support for their cause.

  9. JonnyNYNY2FLFL says

    Oops, I meant “medals”… like gold, silver, & bronze (you know, awards made of metal).

  10. Zambanini4Equality says

    The pressure on Russia must be via a multipronged approach. Boycott of Stoli and other Russian vodkas and consumer products, and international, EU and US Govt and St Dept pressure on Putin and Russia. Unfortunately there are very few Russian consumer products sold in the US. There is however a HUGE Russian consumer (and business) product which has till now been overlooked in the #DumpStoli #BoycottRussia campaign: Kaspersky Antivirus! They are a powerful Russian company. So be sure to #BoycottKaspersky Antivirus too. Tweet it along with #DumpStoli!! They are the 2nd largest Russian consumer product in the US after Stoli and the 4th largest in antivirus sales globally! Kaspersky makes up 28% of the US antivirus market. They are an international company but are very popular in Italy and Iran. They are #2 in Italy! The Kaspersky owners/CEO’s Natalia and Eugene have both supported Russian government Internet censorship (see Wikipedia about Kaspersky Lab) despite international outrage – Wikipedia even took down its Russian site in protest. The Current CEO, Eugene Kaspersky, has a “vision” to censure social networking sites as detailed in this 2012 Wired article which points out he was trained by the KGB and notes his “vision” for Internet and social networking censorship.:

    Russia’s Top Cyber Sleuth Foils US Spies, Helps Kremlin Pals

    #KasperskyAntivirus: 2nd Largest RUSSIAN consumer product in US! #LGBT #BoycottKaspersky #DumpStoli

    #KasperskyAntivirus: 4th in antivirus sales globally! #LGBT #BoycottKaspersky #DumpStoli #BoycottRussia

  11. Monroc says

    I think boycotting everything Russian should be the first step and that include the Olympics.

  12. MickleSt says

    If you want to boycott another Russian product, bypass Lukoil gas stations in favor of others. Lukoil is a Russian company. Make sure to contact them explaining that you are boycotting them, and

  13. Mmike1969 says

    No Russian crap. Got it. It’s a small list since they seem only to have vodka on the list.

    And no, I am not counting bigotry and ignorance as part of their exports.

  14. says

    Nice to finally explode the meme that “activists in Russia are all against the boycott.” True, ONE activist is against it, but he is not the voice of all.

    Masha Gessen and Olga Krause have been out and active for 20+ years.

  15. anon says

    Gays have every reason to boycott anything Russian, but the list of Russian malfeasance is so long, they should be shunned in general.

  16. Rexford says

    What allies in the West need to do his pressure companies like Intel, Microsoft, Siemens, Samsung, Alstom, and Cisco Systems to pull out of their promise to invest $1 billion in “the technology hub” that is currently under construction in Skolkovo (outside Moscow). There’s an article about this project in the current Bloomberg Business Week.

  17. José Luis Santos says

    I agree with your campaign. That’s why I would like you to help us to withdraw one of the most important prizes in Spain, given in 2009 to Yelena Isinbayeva.

    Our petitions at

    Thanks for your support!