It goes without saying that a boycott of Russian vodka (specifically Stoli) won't do anything to stop Russia's crackdown on LGBT people. If anything, launching an attack on a company like Stoli with a pro-LGBT reputation and public stance is detrimental to one of the good guys.
Russia is playing a domestic political game, using gay people to shore up support with Putin's rural base. It's not much different from the Bush/Mehlman strategy during the 2004 reelection campaign. Putin isn't concerned with the sales of a handful of companies that make up only a fraction of a point of Russia's GDP. Like most political leaders, he's far more concerned with consolidating domestic support.
It's this kind of fake activism, all tactics with no strategy, that hurt progressive causes in the long run. People feel like they've done something of value when they haven't. Since most people only have a certain amount of time to dedicate to activism, this leaves plenty of actually valuable things undone.
It's funny that Dan Savage says he isn't interested in Stoli's marketing efforts, when it's hard to see this campaign as anything more than yet another Dan Savage marketing ploy.
This blog post originally appeared on Ryan's blog.