Oregon officials on Monday afternoon ordered state-licensed liquor stores to pull two dozen brands of Russian-made vodka off store shelves, a show of solidarity with intentional economic sanctions designed to pressure President Vladimir Putin to stop invading Ukraine.
The Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission directive will remove 5,000 bottles of liquor from store shelves, and keep another 6,200 in a state warehouse in Milwaukie.
“We’re going to freeze moving anything out of our warehouse that is directly made in Russia,” said OLCC spokesman Bryant Haley. “Anything that’s actually on the shelves, we’re working with our liquor store partners to move that off the shelves and into a back room.”
The order applies to 24 brands of liquor, all vodka, including Jewel of Russia, Hammer + Sickle, Green Mark, Imperial and Beluga.
The move comes as the U.S. and other Western countries attempt to cut off Russia from the world economy, seeking to undermine domestic support for Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Russia continued shelling Kiev on Monday, including bombing residential apartment complexes.
Oregon joins at least four other states, plus Canada, in removing Russian vodka from state-licensed liquor stores.
Gov. Kate Brown emphasized that the vodka ban was directed at the Kremlin, not the Russian people. (Russian is the fourth-most spoken foreign language in Oregon.)
“The actions of the Russian government are not the actions of the Russian people,” Brown said in a statement. “We value our Russian community here in Oregon, and many Russian families are being impacted by this conflict.”
Earlier Monday, a leading Republican candidate for governor, state Rep. Christine Drazan (R-Canby), had demanded such action on Russian liquor.
“The people of Ukraine are bravely standing up to a totalitarian regime that has invaded their country,” Drazan said in a statement. “We must send a message of solidarity with Ukraine by halting the sale of Russian-sourced liquor in Oregon. I urge the governor to take this action without delay.”