Private Companies Are Playing a Key Role in Punishing Russia

As millions took the streets and rallied in support of Ukraine from Tokyo to New York and from Berlin to Canberra, politicians weren’t the only ones watching. With their public image in mind, corporations piled on the hurt on top of the international sanctions levied against Russia. As of 8 Marchh, over 300 companies have withdrawn from the country. Moreover, while any company leaving translates into layoffs, less commerce and further damage to the economy, a large number of these companies are part of key sectors such as finance, shipping and technology.

One notable sector which is seeing companies exit from Russia is shipping. Maersk, MSC, CMA CGM, Hapag-Lloyd and Ocean Network Express (five of the world’s six largest shipping companies) have decided to stop all shipments to Russia with the exception of food, medicine and aid. With global trade revolving around maritime commerce, this is a devastating blow to the Russian Federation which could even be compared in its impact to the limits placed on Russian access to SWIFT. The carriers FedEx and UPS have also decided to stop their delivery services to Russia and Ukraine.

Airbus, Boeing and Embraer are all ceasing support and sales in Russia. This means that due to its dependency on parts from these aviation industry powerhouses, Russian civil aviation will likely no longer be able to function within just weeks. Similar decisions by tech firms like Samsung, Microsoft, IBM, HP, Dell, Panasonic and Apple will all likely have similarly notable effects on any Russian industry which is somewhat reliable on their technology. Particularly important is the decision of semiconductor manufacturers Advanced Micro Devices, GlobalFoundries, Intel and TSMC to boycott Russia. Even Russian-designed microchips are largely reliant on their components.

Another key sector is finance with Visa, Mastercard, American Express and JCB all closing operations in Russia. This means that the vast majority of credit cards in Russia will no longer function. Similarly, online payment services and digital wallet services like Paypal, Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung pay have all halted activities in Russia. Moreover, it is notable that a number of funds have moved to end all investments in Russia while a number of trading countries have frozen Russian investments.

Of course, not all firms have decided to join the backlash against Russia. Nestle, Citi and Bridgestone Tire and Papa John’s are a few examples of companies which continue to operate in the country. Nevertheless, public pressure seems to be working. Following calls for boycott by Western consumers, KFC, Pizza Hut, Pepsi and Coca Cola have all announced plans to cut business in Russia this week.

A few companies chose to pair their decision to stop business in Russia with charitable donations meant to provide aid for Ukraine. Moreover, US ammunition manufacturers AMMO Inc., CCI, Federal, Remington, and Speer have together promised to supply a total of 2 million rounds of ammunition to Ukraine.