Some 250 companies have left Russia or cut operations in the country since President Vladimir Putin moved to invade Ukraine on Feb. 24, according to the Yale School of Management.
Firms that have invested billions of dollars in the Russian market over the last three decades have headed for the exit door en masse following Russia’s attack on its pro-European neighbor.
The list includes technology giants like Apple and Microsoft and energy majors such as BP and Shell, as well as a string of automakers and retail chains. Some have left the market altogether, while others have announced a suspension of sales and shipments.
The closures are set to lead to tens of thousands of immediate job losses for local Russian staff and are a stark visualization of Russia’s international and economic isolation in the wake of its actions in Ukraine.
The country is expecting to face its worst economic crisis since the fall of the Soviet Union and the Russian ruble has already lost up to half its value since before Putin invaded.
Russia’s attack was met with an unprecedented package of Western sanctions that has created mounting technical difficulties to operating in Russia. That has added to a moral backlash among company executives, investors and Western customers pushing for businesses to cut their ties with the country.
The Kremlin has also announced its own set of ultra-restrictive measures — such as a ban on transferring foreign currency out of the country — that have further cratered the country’s business climate. Moscow has also sought to frustrate the exodus, telling stock market brokers to reject sell orders from foreign clients when the Russian stock markets open back up for trading, and has said it will block the ability of private investors to exit their stakes in Russian firms.
Companies that have stayed in Russia — including the likes of McDonald’s, Starbucks and Coca-Cola — are facing mounting pressure in the West to pull out of the country, as reports of civilian deaths and allegations of Russian war crimes in Ukraine continue to mount.