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Big Companies That Are Cutting Business Ties With Russia

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Brand Strategy

While people around the world have been pouring out their Russian vodka in a symbolic display of solidarity with Ukraine, companies that have more money and weight to throw around are condemning the invasion by excluding Russia from business dealings. That means closing up stores, halting shipments, and even refusing to air Russia's state-run media. Here are some of the biggest corporations to cut business ties with Russia over the invasion of Ukraine, including a major decision by fast-food giant McDonald's to sell all of its Russian locations.


RelatedBoycotts, Bans, and More: Russia Squeezed From World Stage

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McDonald's

As of last year there were 847 McDonald's in Russia — and now comes word they will be shutting down permanently. The decision comes after the chain's initial silence about Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which caused the hashtag #boycottmcdonalds to gain momentum. Shortly after, the Golden Arches temporarily halted operations at all restaurants in Russia. Now CEO Chris Kempczinski has revealed a decision to sell all Russian McDonald's locations, explaining that the chain has "a commitment to our global community and must remain steadfast in our values. And our commitment to our values means that we can no longer keep the Arches shining there." After the sale is finalized, the Russian restaurants will no longer be able to use the McDonald's logo, name, or menu. The exit is also quite costly: McDonald's will take a write-off between $1.2 to $1.4 billion.


Related: 25 Weird and Wonderful McDonald's International Menu Favorites

Koch Industries
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Koch Industries

After resisting public pressure to pull out of Russia for more than a month, Koch Industries has officially announced plans to stop doing business in the country. One of the conglomerate's subsidiaries, Guardian Glass, is consulting with managers of its Russian location to find an exit strategy that will ensure the safety and security of  employees. Guardian Glass has about 600 workers at its two Russian factories, and Koch is the second-largest privately owned business in the U.S., bringing in about $115 billion each year. It's also noted for its controversial chairman and CEO, Charles Koch, a right-wing billionaire known for donations to conservative causes.


Related: How Many Billionaires Are in Your State?

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Chanel

Looking for an expensive Chanel handbag? You won't find it in Russia right now. The luxury goods retailer has closed all 17 of its Russian stores to comply with European Union sanctions that ban the sale of goods priced above $327. Other exclusive brands like Hermès and Louis Vuitton have also closed stores in the country. Russian socialites are not taking the Chanel news well. Models, actresses, and influencers have taken to social media to dramatically cut up their Chanel handbags, which retail for thousands of dollars, calling for a boycott of the brand thanks to its "Russophobia." 


Related: Wastes of Money Sold to You by Luxury Retailers

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Nestlé

Russians, get your KitKats now or never. After Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky lambasted the brand for refusing to leave Russia, Nestlé announced it would stop all non-essential imports and exports into and out of Russia. That means Russians will be cut off from Néstle products that range from Nespresso coffee to KitKats and Nesquik. However, essential goods like baby food, therapeutic pet food, and medical nutrition products will still be available.


Related: The Biggest Retail Boycotts of All Time

Goldman Sachs
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Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs recently became the first big Wall Street bank to leave Russia. The firm said it is "winding down its business in Russia in compliance with regulatory and licensing requirements." It's unclear exactly how much of a hit Goldman Sachs will take from the move, but analysts have estimated $940 million in exposure, according to CNBC.

Pepsi
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Pepsi

PepsiCo is taking a nuanced approach to its business in Russia. While the company will be suspending the sale of Pepsi-Cola as well as other drinks like 7UP and Mirinda, it will continue to sell baby formula, baby food, milk and other dairy options."We have a responsibility to continue to offer our other products in Russia, including daily essentials," CEO Ramon Laguarta said. "By continuing to operate, we will also continue to support the livelihoods of our 20,000 Russian associates and the 40,000 Russian agricultural workers in our supply chain as they face significant challenges and uncertainty ahead."


Related: The Richest Men in Russia — and Which Ones Are Facing Sanctions

Starbucks
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Starbucks

Like McDonald's, Starbucks has switched directions when it comes to its Russian stores. Previously, the coffee chain said it would be donating profits from its 130 Russian stores to humanitarian efforts in Ukraine, but it's now temporarily shutting those stores instead. Luckily, the 2,000 Russian Starbucks employees will still get paychecks. Starbucks President and CEO Kevin Johnson said in an open letter to employees, “Through this dynamic situation, we will continue to make decisions that are true to our mission and values and communicate with transparency."

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Coca-Cola

Russians won't be able to have a Coke and a smile, at least for a while. A statement from the brand didn't offer details, but said, "Our hearts are with the people who are enduring unconscionable effects from these tragic events in Ukraine. We will continue to monitor and assess the situation as circumstances evolve.”

Ford
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Ford

Ford Motor Company is suspending all operations in Russia immediately, with CEO Jim Farley noting that the company is "deeply concerned" about the invasion of Ukraine and the safety of its people. Ford had already started scaling back its dealings with Russia, with only 22,000 vehicles sold there last year.



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BP

Energy giant BP considers itself Russia's largest foreign investor, but that title may have met its expiration. The company is saying goodbye to its almost 20% stake in Rosneft, a Russian state-owned oil and gas company — a move that could cost a staggering $14 billion. 

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Shell

Joining BP and Exxon, Shell is abandoning all of its Russian operations with the company's CEO noting that the company is "shocked by the loss of life in Ukraine." Shell's operations in Russia include a major liquefied natural gas plant, and the company says it had around $3 billion in assets there.


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Airbnb

Airbnb has suspended operations in both Russia and Belarus. But perhaps more significantly, it is supporting Ukrainian refugees by providing short-term housing for those in need free of charge.

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Disney

Going to see a new movie is going to be difficult in Russia for a while. Disney has suspended theatrical releases of its films there, which included Marvel and Pixar movies in coming months. Likewise, Warner Bros. has taken the same route, which means Russians won't be seeing "The Batman" anytime soon.


Ikea
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Ikea

Russians won't be putting together any flat-pack furniture for a while. Ikea has announced that it is pausing all manufacturing and retail operations in the country, including temporarily closing all 17 stores there. About 15,000 Ikea employees will be affected, but the company will continue to pay them, at least for a while. Ikea also donated $22 million in humanitarian assistance to assist Ukrainian refugees. 

Netflix
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Netflix

Despite a Russian law requiring the company to do so, Netflix will not add Russia's state-run TV channels on its platform in the country. The streaming service also temporarily stopped all projects and acquisitions in Russia, which included four Russian-language series that are in various stages of production. 

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Harley-Davidson

Putin — or anyone else in his country — won't be riding any new Harley-Davidson motorcycles anytime soon. The storied company has suspended all business and shipments of its bikes to Russia, where it has about 10 dealerships. 


YouTube
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YouTube

Both YouTube and its parent company, Google, are blocking ads from Russian state media outlets. YouTube is also temporarily halting the monetization of a number of Russian-run channels and limiting its recommendations to those channels. Russian state media channels on YouTube are currently blocked inside Ukraine. 

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Visa and Mastercard

These two credit-card giants have suspended operations in Russia, a move that has left Russian banks looking for new ways to process cross-border payments. Russians can still use Visa and Mastercard for transactions within the country, but they're now blocked elsewhere

Maersk
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Maersk

Maersk, the global shipping giant, has temporarily halted all cargo bookings with Russia, snarling logistics across the globe. Ever-changing sanctions make the company's business more complicated, so only shipments of food, medical, and humanitarian supplies will be allowed. Switzerland's MSC and France's CMA CGM have also suspended operations to Russia.

Apple, Inc.
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Apple

Getting an iPhone in Russia is going to be a problem. Apple has stopped selling all of its products in the country, and banned Russian state-run media outlets from its App Store in every country but Russia. Though there are no Apple stores in Russia, iPhones account for about 15% of the Russian smartphone market. 

Boeing
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Boeing

Airplane giant Boeing is suspending parts, maintenance, and technical support for all Russian airlines. It's also suspending major operations in Moscow, including its training campus, and temporarily closing its office in Kyiv, Ukraine. Airbus, a Boeing competitor, has followed suit and halted its operations and support in Russia as well.

General Motors
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General Motors

Detroit-based General Motors is cutting all business ties with Russia and stopping all vehicle shipments to the country. It's largely a symbolic act, since only about 3,000 GM vehicles are sold in Russia annually. Other car manufacturers like Toyota have also stopped exporting cars to Russia and shut down manufacturing plants there.

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Facebook

Facebook is blocking Russian state media in Europe as well as Ukraine to push back against war propaganda. News outlets Sputnik and RT are not accessible through Facebook in the European Union at the request of governments there. Microsoft is following suit and blocking the outlets from the app store, news feed, and Bing search results. 

Exxon
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Exxon

Oil and gas behemoth Exxon is cutting all ties with Russia in a business relationship that goes back decades. It's pulling out of its last remaining project in the country — the huge Sakhalin-1 oil and gas project — and has vowed not to invest in any new projects either.