“I think if anybody is buying Russian products now, they should stop,” he said.
Rothbart said activists outside of Russia face the difficult task of both showing solidarity with Russia’s LGBT community, while not giving Putin the opportunity to portray himself as someone defending Russian culture against the West.
“It’s a difficult line for gay rights activists in the U.S. to walk,” she said.
Rothbart said the vodka boycott is doing a good job bringing attention to the gay-rights situation in Russia, but that change itself will have to come from inside the country.
“I don’t think it (the boycott) has any potential to change the politics in any rapid way,” she said.
She also said that the crackdown on gay rights in Russia was emblematic of the overall political situation there.
“Unfortunately,” she said, “Russia has been moving in a more authoritarian direction in general.”