News Local

LGBTTQ boycott could pressure Russians: expert 0

By Michael Mui, 24 Hours Vancouver

As Vancouver Pride Week kicks off, the LGBTTQ community is expanding its boycott to all Russian products in protest of anti-gay laws in Russia. One expert says the community has enough consumer clout to actually make Russian politicians listen. (PHOTO ILLUSTRATION)

As Vancouver Pride Week kicks off, the LGBTTQ community is expanding its boycott to all Russian products in protest of anti-gay laws in Russia. One expert says the community has enough consumer clout to actually make Russian politicians listen. (PHOTO ILLUSTRATION)

A push by Vancouver Pride Society to boycott all Russian goods could apply “very real economic pressure” on Russian politicians, said a local marketing expert, because of the LGBTTQ community’s consumer clout.

Jumping aboard a boycott kick-started by Fountainhead Pub last week in protest of newly enacted laws in Russia restricting homosexuals from living openly in the country, Pride now plans call Vancouver businesses during the coming weeks to extend the boycott.

“Trust me, even if it’s only one product, the guy in Russia whose product is getting boycotted will be screaming his head off at the politicians,” Simon Fraser University professor Lindsay Meredith said, comparing the riled community to a “hornet’s nest.”

“(Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people) are very well-educated on average and they are moneyed on average. If you’ve got those two things, marketers are going to pay attention to you.”

On Sunday, Vancouver Pride Society general manager Ray Lam he wants consumers to lend a hand, too, and stop buying Russian goods.

“Go online and figure out what the Russian products are, which ones you can start boycotting to support this.”

Some local bars, like Fountainhead Pub, have already banned Russian spirits from shelves. Other nightclubs across North America have started similar boycotts.

It’s a move that could potentially affect some Vancouver businesses, such as Russian World, which sells books, movies and children’s toys from Russia and Ukraine.

Inna Mikhailov, who has operated the Main Street shop for 17 years, said stores that focus on Russian culture have nothing to do with politics.

“The people interested about Russian language, they come to my store to buy books,” she said. “The culture is separated from politics.”

Pride Week officially kicks off Monday with a flag-raising ceremony at Vancouver City Hall. Mayor Gregor Robertson, who spoke out against the Russian legislation, said Sunday about the boycott, “It’s up to individuals to make their own choices about how to express their concerns.”

 

Poll

Would you join a boycott of Russian products?

Reader's comments »

By adding a comment on the site, you accept our terms and conditions and our netiquette rules.


Featured Businesses

Go to the Marketplace »