Is There Anything That Will Stop Russia?

The war in Ukraine, according to western officials, is the greatest clash between good versus bad the world has witnessed in decades.

For companies with millions of euros engaged in ongoing activities in Russia, there’s nowhere to go from this perspective.

Don’t Buy Russian!

In an address to the US Senate on March 16, Ukraine’s leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged, “Leave this marketplace soaked with our lifeblood.”

“All American corporations are required to leave Russia.” He also made the same argument to German and French legislators.

Despite this, many European and American businesses continue to operate in Russia beneath Putin’s reign. While some feel the fire of global judgment, others believe it is their right to remain.

Is it possible these businesses are undermining the financial war effort and weakening penalties aimed at pressuring Russia to cease the invasion?

Have they opted to sweep in rubles in order to maximize profits, regardless of the cost to the Ukrainian people?

Or are there ethically correct — as well, financially solid — grounds for why a blockade of Putin’s Russia would be a bad idea?

How corporations and political leaders respond to these questions will largely determine the war’s lengthy economic consequences — on Russia, Ukraine, and the rest of the planet.

As per a Yale University assessment, more than 400 western corporations have removed or discontinued their activities in Russia since the conflict began.

After initially preferring to preserve their Russian ties, some of the world’s largest multinationals have been obliged to make very public, and often embarrassing, U-turns.

Shell, a Dutch energy company, purchased inexpensive oil from Russia, causing widespread outrage.

Eventually, the business acknowledged it made a mistake, apologized, and stated it would exit the Russian oil and gas market.

Similarly, after its connections to Russian enterprises sparked a huge public controversy in France, TotalEnergies, a French oil corporation, recently declared it will progressively end its operations in Russia.

Move Quickly

Companies currently working in Russia, per Bill Browder, the director of the Global Magnitsky Accountability Initiative, “ought to depart as quickly as possible.”

“They should be banned in the West if this is not the case. Profits must not come before national security.”

However, it is not always so simple for corporations with significant investments in Russia. In certain circumstances, firms argue they must stay because departing would harm innocent Russian citizens.

As per Phil Bloomer, the director of the non-profit Economic and Human Rights Information Center, this is a valid consideration.

“Business owners should avoid causing substantive harm to the Russian people, such as starvation or anything else,” he stated.

This argument is being used by several western agri-food corporations to stay in Russia for the time being.

BASF, a German agrichemical corporation, announced the supply of goods “essential to avoid hunger” would continue. Seeds, insecticides, and fertilizers are among them.

Bayer, the German chemical giant, also stated it continues to do business in Russia and Belarus. It will not deny civilians “necessary health and agriculture items” since doing so “would only increase the war’s enduring toll on human lives.”