On Sunday, County Executive Marc Elrich announced that Montgomery County’s Alcohol and Beverage Services stores would pull all products produced in Russia from store shelves. The move was announced alongside support from several local elected officials.
Delegate Eric Luedtke (D-14) called for the boycott on Saturday on Twitter, saying that “[o]ne way to pressure this tyrannical Russian regime to end its assault on Ukraine is to boycott Russian products. Even small actions exert pressure.” Shortly after, other local elected officials started to follow suit. County Councilmember Gabe Albornoz tweeted his support early on Sunday once the County announced that the products were being removed.
Delegate Kirill Reznik (D-39) went further and not only voiced his support of the boycott of Russian vodka, but he also called on Congressman David Trone (MD-6) to pull these products from Total Wine, which Trone happens to own.
What Ukraine and Ukrainians need now isn’t virtue signaling. Stopping the sale of Russian vodka and other Russian alcohol products won’t put pressure on the Russian regime at all. In fact, it may end up hurting American companies instead. What would put pressure on Russia is to reduce our reliance on petroleum products.
According to American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, a trade association that represents fuel manufacturers, the United States last year “imported an average of 209,000 barrels of crude oil per day, and another 500,000 barrels per day of other petroleum products.”
Last year, the Montgomery County Council passed a Community Solar bill, allowing solar farming in the Montgomery County’s Agriculture Reserve. It was so watered down because of amendments that, even though the bill passed, Councilmembers were calling it more symbolic than meaningful. While it wouldn’t have significantly reduced Montgomery County’s dependency on oil, it would have gone a long way to start to shift the county towards domestic energy production that would be sustainable.
Calling for boycotts of Russian products outside of really hitting Russia where they would notice does little to help Ukraine or Ukrainians fighting for and fleeing from their country. Instead of calling for boycotts of products that are already on shelves, products that Russia already received their money for, we should be focusing on how to send aid to Ukraine, how we can welcome and help resettle refugees from Ukraine into the area, and how we can begin to reduce our reliance on crude oil and petroleum for not only the long-term benefit of helping our residents but to really hurt Russia where they’d notice.
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