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

Protest At Russian Consulate After Russia's Invasion Of Ukraine

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Protest At Russian Consulate After Russia's Invasion Of Ukraine
dia images/Getty Images

Holding Russia Accountable

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has been met with swift condemnation around the world. Governments, including the United States, are imposing crushing sanctions on Russia and have cut some key Russian banks out of the SWIFT financial system, crippling the Russian economy and sending the ruble plunging. And while others can't pressure Vladimir Putin the way sanctions can, many businesses and groups are doing what they can by taking action to voice their disapproval, even if only symbollically. Here are some of the more unexpected ways we're distancing ourselves from Russia. 

Related: Big Companies That Are Cutting Business Ties With Russia

Famous Turgenev's oak

An Oak Tree Is Banned

An oak tree submitted by Russia for the European Tree of the Year competition has been disqualified. The Brussels-based organizers banned the tree, which was planted 198 years ago by novelist Ivan Turgenev, from being part of one of the largest tree competitions in the world. “We cannot stand idly by and watch the unprecedented aggression of the Russian leadership against a neighboring country,” the contest organizers said in a statement.

Related: Burger King, Subway Among the Last Remaining Big Brands in Russia

Winner Cat

Cat Shows Are a No-Go

Russian cats have been barred from cat contests for at least the next few months. The Fédération Internationale Féline will not allow any cats bred in Russia or belonging to exhibitors in Russia to enter shows outside the country or be registered in a pedigree book outside Russia, the organization says. This so-called "United Nations of Cat Federations," has more than 100,000 individual members and holds more than 700 shows per year.

Related: Cat Breeds You Have to See to Believe

Moscow mule drink with ice cubes, lemon slice and mint leaves

'Moscow Mules' Get a New Name

Fuzzy's Vodka of Indiana says that "for democracy's sake," Moscow mules should get the heave-ho. In their place, the company proposes another drink: the American Stallion. The "new" cocktail would feature American-made vodka, of course, but otherwise stay true to the Moscow mule formula, which includes ginger beer and lime juice. No word on whether we get to keep the fun copper mugs.

Related: 20 Cold Weather Cocktails

Russian Standard Vodka
Thomas Faull/istockphoto

Vodka Gets a Cold Shoulder

Russia is synonymous with vodka, so it makes sense that customers and liquor stores would want to steer clear. Some state governments have even gone so far as to order Russian-made liquors to be pulled from state-run liquor stores. But as it turns out, less than 1% of vodka consumed in the U.S. is actually made in Russia, and many brands that are associated with Russia, including Stolichnaya, are made elsewhere. In Stoli's case, that's Latvia. 

RelatedThe Best Vodka Under $30

The Batman 2022 Movie Poster
Hacker working on laptop in the dark

'Hacktivists' Declare a Cyber War on Russia

A group called Anonymous, comprised of hackers from around the world, has declared cyber war against Russia. The group is claiming responsibility for attacking over 1,000 Russian websites, including sites belonging to oil companies, media, and government. 

Aerial view of Annunciation Cathedral in Voronezh in winter, Russia

Russian Sister Cities Get the Boot

Mayors and governors around the country are cutting ties with their own cities' Russian sister cities. The symbolic associations were meant to foster international goodwill, but cities like Charlotte, whose sister city is Voronezh, Russia, are severing ties. Other cities that have ended relationships with their Russian sister cities or are looking into it include Sarasota, Florida; San Jose; and Roanoke, Virginia. 

Vladimir Putin judo
Vladimir Putin judo by (CC BY)

Putin is a Black Belt No More

Did you know that Vladimir Putin is a black belt in taekwondo? Well, not anymore, actually. World Taekwondo has decided to strip Putin's honorary black belt, which he received  in 2013. The organization decided its motto, "Peace is more precious than triumph," was ample reason to strip the honor from the Russian president. 


No More Motorcycles For Putin, Either

General Motors and Harley-Davidson have announced that they are suspending business in Russia, including shipments of motorcycles and cars to the country. Putin is reportedly a big fan of Harley-Davidson, and has been photographed riding on one of the bikes — ironically, in Ukraine. 

Team Russia - Men's Hockey
Team Russia - Men's Hockey by Chase N. (CC BY-SA)

Russian Hockey Team Banned

The International Ice Hockey Foundation has banned Russia and Belarus — a neighboring country that has been aiding the Russian invasion — from all IIHF competitions, surely a gut punch in this hockey-crazed nation. That includes pulling the 2023 world junior hockey championship out of Russia. 

Members of the Russian Olympic Team for the 2020 Summer Olympics, at Kremlin
Members of the Russian Olympic Team for the 2020 Summer Olympics, at Kremlin by (CC BY)
FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™
FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™
Unidentified tourists near part of official logo of Eurovision Song Contest 2017 on Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square)

Russian Singers Kicked Out of Eurovision

Eurovision, an annual international song competition, won't allow Russian acts to compete in the 2022 contest, which is slated for May. The European Broadcasting Union, which organizes the event, stated that allowing Russia to compete would bring the competition into disrepute following the invasion of Ukraine. 


OnlyFans Removes, Then Restores, Russian Accounts

OnlyFans, a site for creators and influencers to get money directly from fans who buy their content, locked Russian creators out of their accounts, preventing them from withdrawing money they had already earned. But it was a move that hurt ordinary Russian citizens and not the government, so backlash was swift. The company began restoring Russian accounts just days after limiting them. 

Opera singer performs on stage
Aeroflot Russian Airlines Airplane in Sheremetyevo Internation Airport, Moscow, Russia

Russian Airlines Banned From U.S. Airspace

Russian-owned and -operated airlines have been banned from entering U.S. airspace. The U.S. joins much of the world, including Canada, all of the European Union, and the United Kingdom in the airspace ban. Russia, in turn, has closed its airspace to planes from 36 countries in retaliation, snarling air traffic and logistics across the globe.