Written by | The Lens

Sometimes, when you happen to have the correct information due to experience, and you see a lot of people with good intentions actually hurting the very cause they are trying to help, one has to speak up. And the irony here is as fascinating to me as it was during a similar situation in 2013.

As some know, I am Patrik Gallineaux and I worked for Stoli for 12 years as Stoli LGBTQ+ Ambassador; I took a leave last year to refocus on my passion for teaching and the arts while completing a difficult move cross country (missing my forever home of San Francisco but making new ones here in Florida). I recently decided to return to Stoli Group for special projects as the company proved itself to me years ago as an organization that empowers me to get to give back to my community- but also as a gay man of a certain age I have come to identify the own oppression and homophobia I endured in my life with the oppression of Stoli by Putin and the fight of this company behind the scenes against the Russian Federation.

Once upon a time in Stoli’s rich history it was Russian and owned by the Russian government. However, it was privatized years ago by a man who has since been exiled from his home country of Russia where Stoli can no longer be marketed or sold, and now Stoli invests exhaustive resources fighting Putin to try to keep him from taking the Stoli trademark in countries around the world. When Putin wins, and he has in a few countries, Stoli’s community support goes away with it as it can no longer be sold in that country, and Putin then has the right to sell whatever he wants called Stoli within the borders; almost a form of Russian invasion.  Minor compared to the atrocities in Ukraine, but ironic that to Stand with Stoli is to actively make a difference in fighting Putin and oppression. To remove Stoli from the equation is to actively EMPOWER Putin’s oppression and advance his evil agenda, not to mention potentially also remove much needed lgbtq+ events, fundraising, and support from our own community!!!! A lot to wrap one’s head around, but happy to confirm what is true.    Also, pick up a bottle of Stoli manufactured since the privatization, and you will read “Product of Latvia”, NOT Russia.

Trust, the extra paperwork I have had to deal with behind the scenes for contracts and agreements that makes my gay boy head spin is a direct line of stress from Putin to me as Stoli has to go to crazy lengths to protect itself from Russia. When I took my mental health leave last year, I uncovered in therapy that I had repressive stress built up linked directly to effects of Putin’s oppression on the company that trickles down over time, and also the misguided boycott of 2013: I blame Putin for my needing to touch up my gray roots!!!”


Last modified: March 1, 2022