Putin Agrees with Stoli’s Gay Defenders


Putin Agrees with Stoli’s Gay Defenders
  1. Putin Agrees with Stoli’s Gay Defenders
    gaycitynews.nyc
    BY DUNCAN OSBORNE | Activists who defended Stolichnaya vodka during a 2013 boycott of Russian businesses and products called after that nation enacted its infamous anti-gay propaganda law may be dismayed to learn that Vladimir Putin agrees with them that the Stolichnaya vodka that is sold in the US is not a Russian vodka. In […] The post Putin Agrees with Stoli’s Gay Defenders appeared first on Gay City N…
    Law
Added by paul on May 11, 2017.Saved under International, Legal, Politics, NationalTags: Vladimir Putin, Russia, SPI Group, Stolichnaya, Stuart Milk, 2014 Sochi Olympic Games, Moscow Distillery Cristall, Yuri Shefler, Alexey Oliynik, Marco Ferrari, Kevin Sniffen, Brian Cox

Activists join the owner and bartenders from Boxers NYC in dumping Stolichnaya vodka outside the Russian Consulate in Manhattan in July 2013 to protest Vladimir Putin’s enactment of an anti-LGBTQ law. | GAY CITY NEWS

BY DUNCAN OSBORNE | Activists who defended Stolichnaya vodka during a 2013 boycott of Russian businesses and products called after that nation enacted its infamous anti-gay propaganda law may be dismayed to learn that Vladimir Putin agrees with them that the Stolichnaya vodka that is sold in the US is not a Russian vodka.

In 2014, the Russian government gave the trademarks for Stolichnaya to Federal Treasury Enterprise Sojuzplodoimport (FTE), which authorized Moscow Distillery Cristall, a private company, to produce Stolichnaya vodka for sale in the US. The government empowered both entities to sue SPI Group, the private company that currently holds the Stolichnaya trademarks everywhere except in Russia, and get the trademarks back.

FTE and Cristall sued SPI in roughly 30 countries, including in federal court in the US in 2014, accusing the company’s owners, Yuri Shefler and Alexey Oliynik, of effectively stealing the trademarks in the early 90s following the collapse of the Soviet Union and of damaging the Stolichnaya brand by selling an inferior vodka that is made in Latvia.

Kremlin sues, saying vodka sold here isn’t Russian, while US distributor replies, “No so”

“Upon information and belief, in or about 2002, at the direction of Shefler and Oliynik, SPI began exporting vodka into the US under the Stolichnaya Marks that was produced and/ or bottled in Latvia — not Russia, where authentic Stolichnaya brand vodka is produced,” FTE’s lawyers wrote in an amended complaint in the case that was filed last year. “Defendants have imported, advertised, distributed, and sold vodka from Latvia bearing the Stolichnaya Marks in New York and elsewhere in the United States.”

The anti-gay propaganda law effectively barred any positive representations or discussions of the LGBTQ community in Russia. Activists, including this reporter, responded with protests that included dumping Russian vodka in gutters and sewers outside Russian consular offices and calls for a boycott of Russian products. Stolichnaya, which is probably the most recognized Russian brand in the US, and its supporters pushed back, saying that the vodka was Latvian, not Russian.

“Technically, to define it as a Russian vodka in the US, it needs to be produced, bottled, and distilled in Russia,” Marco Ferrari, the chief marketing officer for SPI Group, told RIA Novosti, a Russian government news agency, in a 2013 interview. “Yes, it’s distilled in Russia, but it becomes a vodka in Latvia… Our ingredients are Russian, but technically it’s not a Russian vodka.”

The company has held different positions on Stolichnaya’s Russianness over the years. Responding to FTE’s amended complaint last year, SPI group denied that it was a Latvian vodka, saying it was only bottled there.

“The SPI Defendants admit that, in or about 2002, vodka sold in the United States under the Stolichnaya Marks was produced in Russia and bottled in Latvia,” SPI Group’s lawyers wrote in a counterclaim. “Except as expressly admitted, the SPI Defendants deny the allegations.”

Responding to a 2006 lawsuit brought against Stolichnaya by Russian Standard, a Russian vodka, that alleged SPI was fraudulently marketing Stolichnaya as Russian, SPI wrote, “All Stolichnaya vodkas sold in the United States are therefore now produced in, and exported out of, Russia under different brand names and then shipped for importation to the United States under the Stolichnaya name. SPI Defendants deny the allegation that the vodka produced for export to the United States for sale under the Stolichnaya brand is anything other than genuine Russian vodka.”

SPI conceded that Stolichnaya was “filtered, bottled, and labeled” in Latvia in the Russian Standard lawsuit.

In 2013, the same year that Ferrari said that Stolichnaya was Latvian, Kevin Sniffen, who was working for Stolichnaya’s outside public relations agency, told Forbes magazine, “We understand Stoli is probably the best-known Russian product outside Russia.”

Also in 2013, Stuart Milk, the founder and president of the Harvey Milk Foundation, which has been a beneficiary of events that had Stolichnaya among its sponsors, and LGBTQ activists in Latvia objected to the boycott, saying the vodka was made in Latvia.

FTE’s lawsuit was initially dismissed, but it was revived after FTE appealed. The parties are currently in discovery, with a trial scheduled…

  1. Washington State’s new and improved distracted driving law

    Legalexaminer.com - Law
    05.24 / 00:17 legalexaminer.com
    Put the phone down in Washington State. The new distracted driving law prohibits any "personal electronic device" for drivers, and increases fines and penalties…
  2. Non-Sequiturs: 05.23.17

    Abovethelaw.com - Law
    05.24 / 00:09 abovethelaw.com
    * What are the best way for working moms to level up their childcare (assuming you have the money to do so)? [CorporetteMoms] * It was great that Justice Thomas sided with the majority in the North Carolina gerrymandering case, but here's the skinny on why Justice Kennedy didn't sign on as well. [Election Law Blog] * Louis Vuitton is gearing up to have its day in front of the Supreme Court. [The Fashion Law] * Is "business casual" in its death throws? [The Atlantic] * Megyn…
  3. With Anger and Determination, Chelsea Vigil Remembers Mx Bostick

    Gaycitynews.nyc - Law
    05.23 / 23:31 gaycitynews.nyc
    BY PAUL SCHINDLER | Eight days after the May 4 death of Mx Bostick, a transgender Chelsea resident who suffered a blow to the head on April 25, more than 100 transgender New Yorkers and their allies gathered at the site of the crime to honor Bostick’s memory and demand action on issues from police responsiveness […] The post With Anger and Determination, Chelsea Vigil Remembers Mx Bostick appeared first on Gay City Ne…
  4. White House clashes with government ethics agency over waiver disclosure

    Abajournal.com - Law
    05.23 / 23:10 abajournal.com
    The Office of Government Ethics isn’t backing down from a request for all waivers granted to former lobbyists and lawyers that allow them to w…
  5. Lawsuit alleges Mississippi deprives black children of equal educational opportunities

    Abajournal.com - Law
    05.23 / 23:10 abajournal.com
    The Southern Poverty Law Center has sued the state of Mississippi, alleging it’s systematically failing to fund schools in majority-black areas, The Associated P…
  6. ABA president criticizes ‘egregious’ cuts to LSC, loan forgiveness in Trump budget proposal

    Abajournal.com - Law
    05.23 / 23:10 abajournal.com
    ABA President Linda A. Klein issued a statement on Tuesday that sharply criticizes proposed budget cuts by the White House that would do “severe d…
  7. The Discovery Gods Have Given You A Gift

    Abovethelaw.com - Law
    05.23 / 23:09 abovethelaw.com
    Proportionality is a powerful tool if you know how to use…
  8. Gov. Ricketts declares session a success, despite failure of tax relief package (AUDIO)

    Nebraskaradionetwork.com - Law
    05.23 / 22:35 nebraskaradionetwork.com
    Gov. Pete Ricketts called the just-concluded legislative session a success, despite the failure of his top priority: tax relief. Ricketts praised the legislature during his end-of-the-session speech, reminding lawmakers the state budget was likely the most important work they did. “You may all recall that last January people were talking about a $900 million problem…
  9. Motorists Sue Over Washington Traffic Camera Secrecy

    Thenewspaper.com - Law
    05.23 / 22:30 thenewspaper.com
    Motorists are looking to take down the photo ticketing system in Lynnwood, Washington by proving the city is violating state law. US District Court Judge Richard A. Jones earlier this month said he would first decide whether the case should be heard as a class action based on filings due by October. Attorney Jay Carlson wants refunds for the tens of thousands of vehicle owners who received a $124 ticket in the mail from one of the twelve red light cameras and four speed cameras operated by…
  10. At Lunch With David Boies, 20 Years After His Departure From Cravath

    Abovethelaw.com - Law
    05.23 / 22:04 abovethelaw.com
    The country's most famous practicing lawyer tells the tale of how he left Cravath to launch his own…
  11. Why the ACLU Has Called for an Investigation but Not Impeachment Now

    Aclu.org - Law
    05.23 / 22:03 aclu.org
    The rule of law demands we not rush to judgment. President Trump can only be impeached if the facts support it. The recent credible allegations that President Donald Trump sought to interfere with an ongoing investigation regarding Russia’s meddling in the U.S. election, and the Trump campaign’s potential collusion therein, have prompted some to call for the president’s impeachment. The ACLU has not advocated impeachment. Rather, we have demanded a full and public investigation of the alle…
  12. Victory! Court Allows Wikimedia’s Challenge to NSA Surveillance to Go Forward

    Aclu.org - Law
    05.23 / 22:03 aclu.org
    We’re one step closer to ensuring that secret, warrantless spying will be subject to scrutiny in the public courts. In a critical victory for privacy and the rule of law, a federal court of appeals ruled unanimously today that an ACLU challenge to NSA internet surveillance, Wikimedia v. NSA, can go forward. As the court explained, Wikimedia, the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, persuasively argued that its communications are searched by the NSA. As a result, we’re one step closer to ensuring …
  13. Federal Court: Transgender Employee With Gender Dysphoria Wins ADA Protection

    Findlaw.com - Law
    05.23 / 21:13 findlaw.com
    A decision out of a federal court in Pennsylvania last week is being heralded as a landmark ruling for the transgender community. Traditionally, transgender individuals have been excluded from protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act because being transgender is not a disability. However, this meant that certain…
  14. What Is a Chapter 7 Means Test Calculator?

    Findlaw.com - Law
    05.23 / 21:13 findlaw.com
    Any time a person files for bankruptcy, federal courts will apply a means test to see if the debtor qualifies for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The first step in that test is to compare the person’s average monthly income for the six months preceding the filing to their state’s median fam…
  15. Conan O'Brien Joke Theft Lawsuit Can Proceed to Trial

    Findlaw.com - Law
    05.23 / 21:13 findlaw.com
    A recent decision in the civil case against Conan O'Brien is no laughing matter for the late night host. Writer Alex Kaseberg filed suit in 2015 over a series of jokes that he claims were stolen from his blog and Twitter feed. The federal judge hearing the copyright…
  16. Tech Support Scams: Beware Pop-Up Windows and Redirects

    Findlaw.com - Law
    05.23 / 21:13 findlaw.com
    Nearly every internet user has encountered some form of the tech support scam in their browsing history. Although these tech support scams are rather common, the level of sophistication can vary as the majority of these are just online phishing scams. The most common tech support scams involve…
  17. Cyclist Sues Portland for Wrongful Arrest Based on Racial Profiling

    Findlaw.com - Law
    05.23 / 21:13 findlaw.com
    Anthony Allen, of Portland, Oregon, is suing the city for nearly half a million dollars as a result of a wrongful arrest that happened in May 2015. While this may seem like a big number, keep in mind that not only was this man wrongfully arrested, criminal charges…
  18. When It Comes To Cybersecurity, Solos Need Best Practices, Not Ethics

    Abovethelaw.com - Law
    05.23 / 21:07 abovethelaw.com
    Would you teach firefighters theory, or give them…
  19. UN Women launches new programme to address the gender inequality of risk at international conference on disaster risk re

    Unwomen.org - Law
    05.23 / 20:43 unwomen.org
    The Deputy Executive Director of UN Women, Yannick Glemarec, will participate at the fifth Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (24-26 May) in Cancun, Mexico, which will convene more than 5,000 delegates to discuss how to prevent disasters and reduce the loss of lives, as well as economic and infrastructure…
  20. In Spite of Lawsuit Aimed at Silencing Activists, Horse-Drawn Carriage Protests Continue

    Theirturn.net - Law
    05.23 / 20:32 theirturn.net
    In response to a lawsuit filed by the horse-drawn carriage industry to silence the opposition in NYC, animal rights activists staged a protest wearing symbolic tape over their mouths to demonstrate that, even if silenced, they can convince tourists to abstain from taking "cruel and dangerous" carriage rides in midtown…