Twenty-six major companies, including Koch Industries and Subway, are “digging in” and continuing operations in Russia despite a mass corporate exodus from Moscow in response to its invasion of Ukraine, according to a list compiled by Yale professor Jeffrey Sonnenfeld.
“Most companies, as they are exposed in the daylight, curtail their Russian operations by withdrawing, suspending or trimming back and tossing piles of generic platitudes about the sympathy for the suffering of innocent Ukraine citizens,” Sonnenfeld told NBC News. “But a core group is brazenly digging in, burying themselves in complicity with the most bloody evil regime, as collaborators with tyranny thinking that they can tough out the criticism if they are not exposed to consumer backlash due to the industrial nature of their enterprises.”
As of March 18, 154 companies have completely halted Russian engagements, while 181 companies have suspended operations while keeping return options open. Eighty-five companies have scaled back some, but not all, operations, and 25 have “dug in” and defied demands to exit or reduce activities in Russia.
They include: Accor, Air Products, AstraZeneca, Asus, Auchan, Baker Hughes, Cloudflare, Decathlon, Emerson Electric, Emirates Airlines, Fortive, Glencore, Greif, Gruma, Halliburton, International Paper, IPG Photonics, Koch Industries, Leroy Merlin, LG Electronics, Metro, Nalco, Oriflame Cosmetics, Schlumberger, Subway, Weatherford International and Young Living.
Subway, which has 446 franchise locations in Russia, in a statement said their “thoughts are with the people of Ukraine” but that the company has “no corporate operations in Russia.”
“We don’t directly control these independent franchisees and their restaurants, and have limited insight into their day-to-day operations,” the company said.
Koch Industries, a major donor to GOP groups and Republican candidates’ campaigns in 2020, told NBC closing up would put workers in Russia “at greater risk and do more harm than good.”
“The horrific and abhorrent aggression against Ukraine is an affront to humanity,” Koch Industries President Dave Robertson said in a statement, adding that the company is”complying with all applicable sanctions, laws and regulations governing our relationships and transactions within all countries where we operate.”
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