Boycotting Russian Vodka Won’t Hurt Putin. Consider This Instead.
Other titles for this piece could be “What are you Putin in your Pantry?” and “What are you Russian to boycott?”
Naturally, as Americans the first thing we want to do is post something on social media to express how annoyed we are at the face of World War III. We think that if we boycott Russian goods, as individuals, we’ll be of some help to the Ukrainian people (Sure, POTUS already imposed sanctions but that’s totally beside the point. We need something for Insta, TikTok, Twitter, and the Facetubes so racist Aunt Cheryl can bitch about something you wrote AGAIN).
As we doomscroll we see bars pouring out “Russian Vodka” or burning Matryoshka dolls (you know, the wooden dolls that get wee-er as you open them up). And maybe, it gives Ukrainians a sense of solidarity to see stuff like that on the internet.
Unfortunately, there are a couple reasons why boycotting Russian products won’t actually work and is more of a show than a useful protest.
Firstly, we don’t actually import many regular consumer goods from Russia, it’s mostly crap we don’t buy a lot of.
Consumer Goods to Boycott if You Really Wanna Stick it to Russia
– Fabergé Eggs: These beauties are about 30 million of dollars each. I will scratch those off this year’s Easter baskets.
– An anti-virus software called Kaspersky: Let’s face it, buying antivirus software from Russia is like buying underwear with holes in it.
– The Lada vehicle: Made by a company called Avtovaz, it is, according to the guys from past Top Gear episodes, is a shite car.
– And for sure don’t buy airline tickets from Aeroflot also known as Russian Airlines.
Secondly, the products you can purchase, have already been bought. If it’s in your hands, Putin has most likely already spent that money. So dumping Russian vegetable oil in the streets just pollutes your sewers and is a safety hazard.
The one we all think will “take the Kremlin down” is Russian Vodka. Probably because we, as a country drink a lot. In my best “well-actually” moment, I would like to say that vodka also originates from Poland and Sweden, not just Russia.
This is what is most obviously, being symbolically “dumped” out by people on social media. If anything else, we know Black Widow and Vodka are from Russia, right? Wrong! Black Widow although she is awesome, isn’t real! And most spirits – Scotch, whisk(e)y, schnapps, etc – are owned by large, multinational conglomerates like Diageo, which is a UK based company. Smirnoff Vodka is also owned by them and distilled in Illinois. In my opinion, Grey Goose is the best tasting vodka and it’s made in France. Ketel One is produced in the Netherlands.
Stolichnaya (our beloved Stoli) is distilled in Latvia and Pennsylvania and their HQ is based in Luxembourg. Both Latvia and Luxembourg are members of NATO. Which, as you probably know, is basically an international clique that hates Russia.
Russian Standard Vodka is actually Russian-made, and you can dump that nasty motherfucker in the streets for symbolism if you choose and you will be correct in doing so. It may clean the streets.
But even Vodka is small potatoes compared to the other things our country imports from Russia – the biggest being 13 billion USD in mineral fuels. Which again, not buying gas will not help anyone (other than Mother Earth of course). All that gas has already been paid for and our sanctions will should stop any more Russian fuel from entering the country.
The other stuff we acquired from Russia was steel, iron, precious metals and stones, fertilizers and inorganic chemicals. The US has already enacted sanctions on these products.
The only consumer products from Russia that any of us might come in contact with are tree nuts, vegetable oils, essential oils and some dairy products. But these are very small amounts and not widely distributed. The best way to avoid buying any of those things from Russia is to buy local.
If you truly want to help the people of Ukraine, you can find a list of places to donate right here.