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These Are the Companies that Have Left Russia

Compañías han salido de Rusia

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With the invasion of Ukraine and the imposition of sanctions by the United States and the European Union on Vladimir Putin’s government, dozens of companies have left Russia in compliance with the imposed restrictions.

Companies that have left Russia range from real estate companies such as Sweden’s IKEA, to fashion companies such as Zara of Spain’s Amancio Ortega, followed by automakers such as BMW, Ford, GM and Honda.

Fast food leaves Russia

The opening of McDonald’s in Russia was a historic event for thousands of Muscovites, who were willing to spend a week’s wages because of the soaring inflation in a convalescent Soviet Union. The early days of McDonald’s in 1990 were characterized by huge lines of curious Russians eager to try one of those classic American burgers.

McDonald’s will close its more than 800 restaurants in Russia, however, it clarified that it will continue to pay the more than 62,000 employees the chain has in the country.

Like McDonald’s, Papa John’s Pizzeria will suspend all operations in Russia. In the Slavic country, Papa John’s franchises its 100 establishments and owns the production center that supplies the raw materials for all its franchises.

Nestlé, the packaged food and beverage group, joined the industry sanctions and announced that on March 9 it would stop all its capital investments in Russia.

U.S. soft drink companies leave Russia thirsty

The first time Russians came into contact with a carbonated beverage was at the American fair, held in Moscow during the 1960s. There the astute managers of Pepsi managed to sneak their drink into the Soviet Union itself, and captured the taste buds of the Russians, as the company would continue to operate in the Soviet Union ever since.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, Coca-Cola soon followed and displaced Pepsi as the new trendy carbonated beverage, as young Russians identified Coca-Cola with the new and Pepsi with the past.

Hundreds of American food franchises left Russia. (EFE)

Today the two companies that were protagonists in one way or another in Russian history, are leaving the country. According to The Wall Street Journal, Pepsi executives were reluctant to leave Russia and abandon a relationship of more than 60 years. Coca-Cola has seconded Pepsi’s decision and announced that it would suspend its line of business in Russia.

Another company joining the closing was Starbucks, the world’s largest coffee company with 130 stores across Russia.

Financial system responds to sanctions imposed on Russia

Predictably, in the face of the financial sanctions imposed by the G-7 countries, the first companies to exit Russia were financial companies. It all started with the announcement that Visa and Mastercard would no longer provide their services in the country, leaving millions of Russians without access to international credit.

The credit card companies were joined by investment banks such as Goldman Sachs, which completely closed its offices in Russia and is arranging for 80 of its employees to leave the country. On the same day, JP Morgan & Chase joined the decision of its counterpart and announced that it would close its operations in the country. American commercial banks have up to $14.7 billion in assets in Russia.

Streaming companies leave Russians without soap operas

The boycott has also been joined by basically all Streaming companies: Disney, Prime Video, Netflix and HBO announced their departure from Russia.

YouTube, for its part, has not announced the withdrawal of its service in Russia, however, has taken the decision to stop monetizing all Russian YouTubers. The company, a subsidiary of Google/Alphabet, has also removed all videos related to Russian state media. Twitch also joined in and suspended payments to its Russian content creators.

Empty shelves and closed bars are the new sight in Moscow’s malls. (EFE)

Social media companies have also joined the blockade, TikTok has suspended livestreams and the option to upload new content in Russia. The company clarified that its decision was due to the new fake news law imposed by the Russian government on March 6. Snapchat has blocked all Kremlin propaganda ads.

For Meta, the once Facebook, Russia beat it to the punch and banned Instagram altogether, after the company began limiting pro-Russian content and dismantling videos from its platforms from major state propaganda organs.

Tech companies also abandon the boat

The exodus of companies is joined by the exodus of tech leaders. Amazon announced that it will suspend all its shipments of retail products to Russia, and will not provide services for new customers who want to use its cloud computing services, AWS, in the Slavic country.

Alphabet stopped accepting new customers on its Google Cloud storage service. Google Play also suspended its paid services and finally the tech company has blocked RT, Sputnik and other Russian state news agencies from appearing in Google search engine results in Europe and the United States.

Western sanctions are a response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. (EFE)

The technology company Apple has stopped selling its products in Russia and has stopped the Apple Pay online payments service in the country.

Dating app Bumble has blocked its services in Russia, as has apartment rental app Airbnb, which has suspended all its operations in the country.

Elon Musk has been among the few CEOs to resist pressure to join the Russian sanctions. Although the billionaire lent Starlink low-orbit satellites to provide Internet in Ukraine, he has refused to block Russian news sources. The billionaire was also asked this week to block all Teslas operating in Russia, however, so far Musk did not comment on the matter.

Economist, writer and liberal. With a focus on finance, the war on drugs, history, and geopolitics // Economista, escritor y liberal. Con enfoque en finanzas, guerra contra las drogas, historia y geopolítica

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