More than 550 global companies still operate in Russia. Many are Europeans

More than 550 international companies, many from Europe, are still operating in Russia to a greater or lesser extent, defying public pressure to pull out of the country after the invasion of Ukraine, according to a new Yale University report.

Of these, 223 companies are considered to be operating “as usual”, including prominent companies from Italy (Boggi, Benetton, Calzedonia), France (Clarins, Etam, Lacoste), Germany (Siemens Healthineers, B. Braun) and the Netherlands (Philips).

The “business as usual” list also includes some well-known American companies, such as Tom Ford, Tupperware and TGI Friday’s, as well as numerous Chinese companies, such as Alibaba, Tencent and ZTE, and airlines such as Emirates Airlines, Egyptair , Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines

Numbers compiled and regularly updated by a team of experts from Yale University, who have been monitoring corporate announcements since the outbreak of war in February 2022.

In total, the Yale database contains 1,389 companies from around the world, divided into five categories:

  • burial: 223 companies still “business as usual”, including the companies listed above.
  • Buying time: 162 companies that have postponed future operations but continue to do “significant business” in Russia.
  • Reducing: 170 companies that have scaled back some “significant” operations but are continuing others.
  • Suspension: 493 companies that have temporarily curtailed “most or nearly all” of their operations in Russia, but retain the option to earn remaining financial returns.
  • Clean break: 341 companies that “totally” suspended engagements in Russia.

Together, the three worst-performing categories—mining, buying time, and downsizing—account for 555 companies, nearly 40% of the database.

Among the companies that are still “buying time” are several renowned companies from both the EU and the G7, such as AstraZeneca (UK), Barilla (Italy), Bayer (Germany), BlaBlaCar (France).

Engie (France), Giorgio Armani (Italy), ING Bank (Netherlands), Merck (Germany), Nestle (Switzerland), Red Bull (Austria), Total Energies (France), Unilever (UK) and Yves Rocher (France) are some of the European companies also included in that category.

Those that are in the process of “downsizing” have easily recognizable names such as Adobe (USA), Allianz (Germany), Google’s parent company Alphabet (USA), Bosch (Germany), Coca-Cola (USA), Duolingo (USA), Eni (Italy), Ferrero (Italy), JPMorgan (USA), Microsoft (USA), Ørsted (Denmark), Pirelli (Italy), Spotify (Sweden), Toyota (Japan) and Vattenfall (Sweden).

It is unclear how much money these companies make from their operations in Russia, given the country’s economic slowdown and trade disruption caused by Western sanctions.

However, their continued presence in Russia appears to be undermining the political unity of Western countries, which have been trying for months to cut off revenues that can fund the Kremlin’s war machine.

“Our sanctions in themselves do not oblige companies to leave Russia, many have decided to leave on their own,” a European Commission spokesperson told Euronews, responding to Yale’s findings.

“Those who remain are not necessarily in breach of EU sanctions – as long as they do not participate in sectors or entities that are under sanctions.”

According to the Yale team, 493 international companies remain in “suspension” limbo, meaning they have halted or blocked most commercial activities, sales, deliveries, flights, reservations, financial transactions and other services related to Russia, but without completing disconnection from the earth.

Among the 341 companies that have completely withdrawn from Russia are Accenture (Ireland), Aldi (Germany), Asda (UK), Deloitte (USA), Deutsche Bank (Germany), Equinor (Norway), Heineken (Netherlands), IBM (USA ), Ikea (Sweden), Lufthansa (Germany), McDonald’s (USA), Mercedes-Benz (Germany), Netflix (USA), Nike (USA), Nissan (Japan), Nokia (Finland), Renault (France) and Vodafone (UK).

This group also includes Eurovision and various sports organizations that have banned Russian citizens from participating in their competitions.

Yale is updating the database by analyzing various sources of information, such as government regulatory documents, tax documents, company statements and media reports, as well as a network of company insiders and whistleblowers.

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