Alberta Liquor Stores Won’t Sell Russian Vodka – Its Logo Linked to Genocide

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The Russian vodka called Hammer + Sickle has been taken off the liquor stores shelves in Alberta after many people complained about the logo. The logo of a red hammer and a sickle represents the oppression of human rights and genocide of millions of Ukrainians.

Olesia Luciw-Andryjowycz is the chapter president of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress Alberta, explaining that the logo is as outraging as having a swastika as a logo:

“We wouldn’t put out a cognac with a swastika on it, would we? I mean, people would be outraged.”

The group asked the Alberta Liquor and Gaming Commission to take the product off the shelves since January because of its “offensive nature of the labelling.”

In the beginning, the group was told that liquor stores are private businesses, and they couldn’t pull the products. Then, Luciw-Andryjowycz learned that the vodka was on the shelves of a store in the Calgary airport:

“That was more disturbing. Because here it was at an international airport showing to the rest of the world — saying, look what Alberta’s doing, you know, we’re selling a vodka with a symbol that is so oppressive.”

An Abhorrent Symbol Representing the Genocide of Millions

MLA Jessica Littlewood and Alberta Economic Development Minister Deron Bilous wrote on June 21, to the commission. Their note explained that Alberta is home to over 365,000 Ukrainian-Albertans, many of them had fled to escape the persecution. Victims suffering the great famine (Holodomor) have spent decades to have it recognized, the letter saying that “the image is an abhorrent symbol that represents the genocide of millions.”

The AGLC stated that they understand that “Holodomor was a horrific period in Ukrainian history.” IN an email, they wrote that they are “directly and in collaboration with the liquor agency on this matter, ensuring that, effective immediately, this product will no longer be brought into Alberta.”

Luciew-Andryjowycz said that she is happy that the commission decided in their favor, but her organization will continue to have to product removed from Quebec, the only other place where it is imported.

As for Hammer + Sickle, they haven’t yet commented on the issue.

Rex Austin

Rex Austinwas born and raised in Thunder Bay Ontario on the shores of Lake Superior. Apart from running his own podcast (Ice Fishing And Other “Cool” Things), he spends his time canoeing and backpacking in Northern Ontario.. As a journalist Rex has published stories for Global News (Thunder Bay) we well as Buzz Feed and Joystiq. As a contributor to Great Lakes Ledger, Rex most covers science and health stories. Contact Rexhere