Beyond sanctions: Companies, organizations and brands cutting ties with Russia
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, several companies, international organizations and brands have taken measures in protest to condemn Russia's actions.
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last week, several companies and brands have taken measures in protest to exclude Russian players from sports and end partnerships with Russian businesses and government. The measures are meant to isolate Russia and condemn its actions that go beyond the U.S. government’s economic sanctions President Joe Biden announced last week.
The NHL released a statement Feb. 28, condemning Russia’s actions in Ukraine and urging peace.
“Effective immediately, we are suspending our relationships with our business partners in Russia and we are pausing our Russian language social and digital media sites. In addition, we are discontinuing any consideration of Russia as a location for any future competitions involving the NHL,” the statement said.
The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) condemned Russia’s actions in Ukraine and subsequently suspended all Russian and Belarusian teams (both national teams and club teams) from participating in any IIHF competitions “until further notice.”
On Feb. 28, FIFA banned all Russian national teams from international competitions “until further notice.” The team would be banned from the 2022 World Cup, which is scheduled to be played in Qatar in November. Russia has a qualifying playoff game vs. Poland in Moscow scheduled on March 24. The winner hosts Sweden or the Czech Republic on March 29. If the ban stands through March 24, Russia will be disqualified.
Nations boycotting games against Russian national teams include United States, Canada, Poland, Sweden, Czech Republic, England, Scotland, Wales, Republic of Ireland, Switzerland and Denmark.
On Feb. 28, UEFA co-signed FIFA’s ban of Russia’s national teams from international competitions “until further notice.” Russia faces expulsion from the ongoing UEFA Europa League men’s club tournament of Spartak Moscow, the only Russian club that was still playing in any European club competition this season. Spartak was scheduled to play Germany’s RB Leipzig on March 10 in Leipzig and March 17 in Moscow.
Russia faces a potential ban from this summer’s women’s European Championship, to be played in July in England. It’s unclear whether Russia would remain expelled from the tournament if the ban is dropped before then.
On Feb. 28, UEFA ended a longtime commercial sponsorship deal with Gazprom, the Russian state-owned oil company. The deal had been in place since 2012. Reuters reported that it was worth around 40 million Euros ($US44.5 million) per year.
On Feb. 25, UEFA moved this season’s men’s Champions League final from St. Petersburg, Russia (the Gazprom Arena stadium) to suburban Paris, France (the Stade de France).
German soccer team Schalke 04
On Feb. 28, Schalke ended a longtime commercial sponsorship deal with Gazprom. The company was the most prominent sponsor on the front of Schalke’s jerseys, and was a sponsor of the team since 2007. The deal was to run until 2025, paying around $10 million per year, rising to $15 million if Schalke returns to Germany’s top division, the Bundesliga.
English soccer team Manchester United
On Feb. 25, England’s biggest soccer team ended a commercial partnership with Russian state airline Aeroflot.
The International Olympic Committee urged sports bodies Feb. 28 to exclude the country’s athletes and officials from international events.
The IOC said it was needed to “protect the integrity of global sports competitions and for the safety of all the participants.”
The International Skating Union, the body that runs the sport around the world, said no athletes from Russia or Belarus “shall be invited or allowed to participate” in events until further notice.
The world figure skating championships are scheduled for later this month in Montpellier, France. The ISU decision means Olympic champion Anna Shcherbakova and 15-year-old teammate Kamila Valieva, who was the focus of a still-unresolved doping dispute at last month’s Winter Olympics, will be excluded from the competition.
Arts & Entertainment
Disney, Warner Bros. and Sony Pictures Entertainment
Hollywood studios Disney, Warner Bros., and Sony Pictures Entertainment said they would pause theatrical releases of upcoming films in Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine and the unfolding humanitarian crisis.
The Walt Disney Co said Feb. 28 it is pausing the release of theatrical films in Russia, starting with the upcoming Pixar Animation Studios release, “Turning Red.” Within hours, WarnerMedia said it would pause this week’s release of “The Batman” in Russia.
The European Broadcasting Union says that Russia will not be allowed an entry in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.
The union said in a statement Feb. 25 that given the unprecedented crisis in Ukraine, the inclusion of a Russian entry would bring the competition into “disrepute.’’
International Cat Federation
The International Cat Federation says it has banned Russian cats from any of its international competitions in the latest rebuke to Russia since it invaded Ukraine last week.
On Feb. 28, Netflix announced it would not carry 20 Russian propaganda channels it could be required to host under Russian law.
German sportswear company Adidas suspended its partnership with the Russian Football Union March 1, effective immediately, a company spokesperson said on Tuesday.
Apple has stopped selling its products through the Apple Store in Russia. All Apple products on the company’s online Russian storefront are listed as “unavailable” for purchase or delivery in the country. Apple doesn’t operate any physical Apple stores in Russia.
ExxonMobil announced March 2 that it would leave its last remaining oil-and-gas project in Russia, and it will not invest in new developments.
“ExxonMobil supports the people of Ukraine as they seek to defend their freedom and determine their own future as a nation. We deplore Russia’s military action that violates the territorial integrity of Ukraine and endangers its people,” the company said in a statement.
Fine Wine & Good Spirits
The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board announced Feb. 27 that it has directed the Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores and its website to stop buying and selling Russian-sourced products in protest of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The home furnishing retailer discontinued operations March 3 in Russia.
“The war has had a huge human impact already. It is also resulting in serious disruptions to supply chain and trading conditions. For all of these reasons, the company groups have decided to temporarily pause IKEA operations in Russia.”