2022 boycott of Russia and Belarus

boycotts following Russian invasion of Ukraine

Encyclopedia from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In 2022, a boycott of Russia and Belarus was implemented by many companies and organisations in Europe, North America, Australasia and elsewhere after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The companies involved have withdrawn from Russia, or divested themselves from Russian ties, either as a result of sanctions or in protest of Russian actions.

Overview

The majority of countries which sanctioned Russia following its 2014 annexation of Crimea began imposing additional sanctions to punish Russia for invading all of Ukraine — a move for which Russian President Vladimir Putin had long prepared.[1] Supporters in the West, for instance two thirds of Americans who are in favor of the sanctions, were joined by a wide range of companies which decided to pull out of Russia.[2][3] Ukrainian institutions have stated that the need for these measures is urgent.[4]

The response can be broadly divided into a cultural boycott, aimed at amplifying the international condemnation of the invasion, and an economic boycott, which is designed to make the war effort less sustainable.[5][6] As a result of the latter, several commentators have warned of an unprecedented economic collapse in Russia's future, citing a 30% drop in the rouble's value, a 20% rise in interest rates and a 1% GDP expansion down from 1.7%.[7] Analyses by multiple firms project year end GDP contraction of at least 5% and inflation of 15%.[8] Some of the most critical blows to Russian infrastructure have been the loss of access to the SWIFT payment system and limitations on Russia's ability to export oil.[9] US Senator Bernie Sanders has stated that this crisis should influence energy policy more broadly in order to deter "authoritarian petrostates".[10] While Shell plc has been noted for relinquishing its stake in Gazprom, it was also criticized for buying a cargo of discounted Russian crude oil.[11] The next day, following public outcry, Shell defended the purchase as a short term necessity, but also announced that it intends to reduce such purchases and put the profits from them into a fund that will go towards humanitarian aid to Ukraine.[12]

Some of the largest snack and fast food companies have faced criticism for continuing to do business in Russia and Belarus.[13][14][15][16][17] Anthony Pompliano has defended cryptocurrency trading platforms for not participating in the boycott, stating "there is an incredible amount of inhumanity that goes into the decision to cut off the average citizen from the global financial system. What was their crime?"[18] Critics of the Israeli government have pointed out the fact that several American politicians who support isolating Russia economically previously campaigned for and passed anti-BDS laws.[19]

Boycotting companies and organizations

Banking and finance

Banks
  • The World Bank announced that it had stopped all activities in Russia and Belarus as of 2 March. It stated that it had not approved any new loans or investments to Russia since 2014 and Belarus since mid-2020.[20]
Payment processors
  • Credit card companies Mastercard, Visa and American Express blocked transactions linked to multiple Russian institutions on 1 March.[21][22] Russia makes up about 4% of Mastercard's and Visa's net revenue for 2021, while American Express states that its business in Russia is "small".[23][22]
  • Online payments company PayPal stopped accepting new users in Russia and blocked transactions by some users and banks in Russia as of 2 March.[24] On 5 March it shut down its services in Russia.[25]
  • Google Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay no longer work in Russia due to sanctions against numerous Russian banks. As of 2020, 29% of Russians were using Google Pay and 20% were using Apple Pay.[26]
Pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, and endowment investments
  • New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed an executive order on 27 February, directing all New York State agencies and authorities to review and divest public funds from Russia. On 2 March, the state's Department of Financial Services expedited the procurement of blockchain analytics technology, allowing it to detect exposure of virtual currency businesses to sanctioned individuals.[27]
  • On 28 February, Australia's Future Fund announced that it would dump all Russian assets, worth A$200m,[28] while the New South Wales government would dump A$75m of Russian assets from its NSW Generations Fund.[29]
  • The Australian Government called on superannuation companies to dump all of its Russian assets.[30] The first superannuation companies to dump its assets were Aware Super dumped A$50m in Russian assets on 1 March[31] while Australian Retirement Trust dumped A$133m in Russian assets on 3 March.[32] As a result of further pressure from the government, Colonial First State confirmed on 3 March that it would divest its Russian exposure which made up 0.1% of its total funds, AustralianSuper announced on 4 March that it would dump its A$175m portfolio of Russian assets as quickly as possible, Hostplus confirmed it would offload its A$10m in Russian assets, while HESTA, Cbus and UniSuper announced it was removing all of its holdings in Russian assets.[33]
  • Norway's Government Pension Fund of Norway announced that it will divest its Russian assets from 47 companies, including Sberbank, Gazprom and Lukoil, worth 25 billion crowns in 2021.[34] However, it announced that its value is likely worth only 2.5 billion crowns and they were "pretty much written off".[35]
  • Investment companies Legal & General, Abrdn, and National Employment Savings Trust sold all their Russian stocks and bonds.[36]
  • The Church of England announced on 25 February that it will sell £20m in Russian holdings held by its Church Commissioners and the Church of England Pensions Board. The church also said it would not make any further investments in Russia, calling it an "immoral flood of corrupt money".[37]
  • The University of Colorado announced on 3 March that it would liquidate its investment in publicly traded Russian companies and mutual funds with holdings in Russia, around US$6.1m.[38]
Trading
  • Commodities trading company Trafigura froze all Russian investments, including its share in Rosneft led project Vostok Oil on 2 March.[39]
  • Commodities trading company Gunvor announced that it had already sold all of its Russian assets but would review its minority, non-controlling stake in Ust-Luga Oil Products terminal.[40]

Education, research and science

Education programs
Research
  • The German Research Foundation suspended all scientific collaboration with Russia on 2 March, including the sharing of data, samples, research and equipment. Researchers applying for a fellowship in Russia will have to choose another country.[43]
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ended its relationship with the Skolkovo Foundation on 25 February, affecting 21 MIT faculty members and 38 students.[42]
  • The UK science minister announced a review of all research funding from the UK government to Russian beneficiaries.[44]
  • The European Commission suspended all payments to Russian institutions involved in EU-funded research projects on 2 March. It also suspended the preparation of grant agreements for four projects under Horizon Europe.[45]
  • The Journal of Molecular Structure stopped considering manuscripts submitted by scientists at Russian institutions.[44]
Science projects

Energy

  • On 27 February, bp announced that it had exited its 19.75% shareholding in Rosneft along with the resignation from the Rosneft board of directors by bp Chief Executive Bernard Looney and former bp chief executive Robert Dudley [52].
  • ExxonMobil cut business ties with Russia and announced that they will not be investing in new developments in the country.[53]
  • Equinor announced they were pulling back from Russian developments. Shell made a similar announcement, including its support of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project.[54]
  • Centrica announced it will exit gas supply agreements with Russia.[55]

Entertainment

Esports and electronic games

  • Ukraine based esport organisation NAVI severed partnership with Russian esport organisation ESForce. Companies under ESForce Holding includes RuHub, Epic Esports Events, Cybersport.ru and Virtus.pro.[77]
  • BLAST Premier cancelled upcoming tournament qualifier for the CIS region and banned Russian-based teams from attending its events for the "foreseeable future".[78]
  • ESL bans organizations with ties to the Russian government from participating in ESL Pro League. The affected teams are Virtus.pro and Gambit Esports. However, the players are allowed to participate in the tournament "under a neutral name, without representing their country, organization or their teams’ sponsors on their clothing". All scheduled tournaments in the CIS region have also been paused and postponed.[79]
  • Finnish tournament organiser Elisa Esports bans all Russian-owned organizations from participating in its tournaments.[80]
  • Electronic Arts removed the Russian teams from its games FIFA 22, FIFA Mobile, and FIFA Online, and removed the Russian and Belarusian teams from NHL 22.[81] They also halted sales of games in both Russia and Belarus.[82]
  • Game developer CD Projekt cut off sales for all of its products to Russia and Belarus, including Cyberpunk 2077 and all games on GOG.com.[83][84]
  • Nintendo placed the Nintendo eShop for Russia into maintenance mode, which disabled the ability to make purchases or downloads for Nintendo Switch digital games, DLC, or microtransactions.[85]
  • Sony Interactive Entertainment pulled Gran Turismo 7 from digital and physical sale in Russia and postponed its release in the Russian market until further notice.[86]
  • Activision Blizzard halt sale of games in Russia.[87]
  • Epic Games suspended sale of games in Russia.[87]

Food and beverage

Goods

Automotive
Apparel and accessories
Other
  • IKEA closed stores in Russia.[137]
  • Czech online shop Kytary.cz with musical instruments suspended all business contacts with Russian suppliers.[118]

Services

Shipping and transportation

  • UPS and FedEx announced that they would halt shipments to Russia and Ukraine.[143]
  • Maersk, MSC, CMA CGM, Hapag-Lloyd and Ocean Network Express halted all container shipping to Russia, except for basic food products, medicine and humanitarian aid. These are five of the six largest container shipping companies in the world. The sixth largest carrier is the Chinese company COSCO which continues to ship to Russia.[144][145][146]
Aviation
  • Airbus suspended support for Russian airlines on 2 March, and suspended services provided by the Airbus Engineering Centre in Russia.[147]
  • Boeing announced that it had suspended 'major operations' in Russia, including support for Russian airlines.[147]
  • Delta Air Lines suspended its code sharing partnership with Russian airliner Aeroflot on February 25.[148]
  • Aircraft manufacturer Embraer announced the halting of supply of parts and aircraft to Russia.[149]

Sports

Technology

  • Apple stopped selling products in Russia. This also includes the suspension of Apple Pay.[216]
  • Oracle suspended all operations in Russia.[217]
  • SAP paused sales in Russia.[217]
  • Telecommunications company Ericsson suspended all deliveries to Russia.[218]
  • Snapchat stopped running ads in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine and halts ad sales.[219]
  • Reddit prohibited links to Russian state media and rejected any advertisement from any Russian-based entity, government or private.[220]
  • Domain registrar and hosting provider Namecheap terminated its service to all Russian customers, requiring users to switch providers by 22 March 2022. Namecheap allowed exceptions for "all anti-regime media, protest resources, and any type of websites that are helping to end this war and regime".[221]
  • Domain registrar GoDaddy stopped supporting new registrations for the .ru extension. Registrants are also unable to sell or transfer existing domains to any party for profit.[222]
  • Uber distanced itself from the Russian company Yandex.Taxi by ending its partnership agreement and three Uber executives resign from its board. Uber agreed to allow Yandex to purchase its 29% stake in the company.[223]
  • Search engine DuckDuckGo paused its partnership with Yandex Search.[224]
  • Rakuten removed Russian ads from its messaging app Viber.[225]
  • Microsoft suspended new sales of its products and services in Russia.[226]
  • Networking company Cisco suspended all deliveries to Russia and Belarus.[227]
  • Samsung suspended shipments to Russia and is donating $6 million to aid refugees and to other humanitarian relief efforts. Samsung Pay is also suspended in Russia.[228]
  • Panasonic suspended shipments and ended operations in Russia, while donating ¥20 million in aid to Ukrainian refugees under the Polish Red Cross.[229]
  • Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter stopped displaying RT and Sputnik accounts in EU member states.[230]
  • Google suspended its ad business in Russia in response to the Russian government's unltimatum to "stop advertising anti-Russian propaganda".[231]
  • Adobe suspended operations in Russia.[232]
  • Dell paused sales of all its products to Russia.[233]
  • Semiconductor manufacturers TSMC, GlobalFoundries, Intel and Advanced Micro Devices halted sales to Russia and third parties that supplied to Russia.[234][235] Russian companies that design their own chips such as Baikal CPU, MCST, Yadro and STC Module are manufactured by TSMC, which cut off Russia's access to semiconductors.[235]
  • Audio equipment manufacturer Yamaha Corporation suspended exports and paused operations in Russia.[236]
  • Equipment manufacturer JCB paused all operations, including the export of machines and spare parts.[237]
  • Nokia stopped deliveries to Russia.[238]
  • Web Summit banned all Russian government members, agencies, state-controlled media, state-backed businesses, and companies with ties to the Russian government from participating at its conferences.[239]
  • Industrial manufacturing company Siemens withdraw from most of its business in Russia.[240][241]

Tourism

Other

Airspace closures

  Russia
  Ukraine
  Countries that have banned Russian aircraft from their airspace in response to the invasion

By 5 March 2022, the following countries and territories had completely closed their airspace to all Russian airlines and Russian-registered private jets:[246][247][248]

Companies criticized for not joining the boycott

A number of companies have faced growing pressure to halt operations in Russia, but have not yet done so.[16] Those include:

See also

References

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