Russia’s ultra-rich elite and business community are starting to feel the heat from harsh international sanctions imposed by the United States and Europe. Since President Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine, Russian tycoons have lost billions of dollars, major international corporations continue to leave Russia, while ordinary Russians face daily shortages and dysfunctional services.
On the eve of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, exiled Russian economist Sergei Aleksashenko stated that Russians would not come out in protest because they lived in a “prison”.
“They live in a concentration camp. What can prisoners interned in a concentration camp do? How can they act? Organize strikes or protests every day?… You can’t expect such people to storm the prison headquarters! They live in total fear,” said Aleksashenko.
Ukraine has not bowed before the aggressor state and continues to speak out loudly about Russia’s war crimes, finally forcing the entire civilized world to take concrete action. This has hit Russia’s elite, propagandists and business companies, and, of course, ordinary Russian citizens.
Financial sector and Russian stock market
- The US expands sanctions on Russia’s Central Bank, prohibiting American business deals and freezing assets. It has imposed sanctions on the Russian Finance Ministry and the National Welfare Fund. Sanctions against the Central Bank have frozen about two-thirds of Russia’s international gold and foreign exchange reserves, about $400 billion that the Russian Central Bank will no longer be able to access to stabilize its currency.
- The Russian government is functionally excluded from international financial markets.
- Major Russian banks are disconnected from the SWIFT payment system. Their customers can no longer receive funds to export goods and services or pay for imports.
- To date, Russia’s Sberbank is not on the list. Nevertheless, the value of its shares on western stock exchanges has fallen by 99.9% since the beginning of February; today one share is worth about one penny. The bank has announced that it intends to withdraw from the European market. It is highly likely that banks affiliated with state-owned Sberbank face imminent bankruptcy.
- The New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq have suspended trading in stocks of Russian companies. These measures affect such companies as Yandex, Qiwi PLC, Nexters Inc, HeadHunter Group PLC, Ozon Holdings PLC.
- From February 21 to 25, the Moscow Stock Exchange index fell by 30%. The Russian Central Bank announced it would close stock trading as of February 25.
- Russian authorities have ordered Russian companies to sell 80% of their foreign exchange earnings. Russians and foreigners living in the country for more than six months are not allowed to transfer funds to their foreign bank accounts.
- As of March 2, Putin’s personal decree prohibits Russians from taking more than $10,000 out of the country.
Russians can no longer access daily products and services
- Apple has stopped selling its products in official Russian online stores. Apple Pay is no longer functional. In addition, the Apple store in Moscow did not open on March 2.
- Payment systems: Google Pay and Samsung Pay are no longer operating in Russia.
- PayPal has frozen transactions on Russian bank cards.
- Visa and MasterCard have blocked access to sanctioned Russian banks. Russians can still use these cards on the domestic market, but not abroad or in foreign online stores. American Express instituted the same measures on March 2.
- Lithuania’s payment system Paysera refuses to serve customers from Russia and Belarus. The company will close all accounts of individuals and legal entities, prohibit deposits and withdrawals from accounts of Russian or Belarusian banks, will not open new accounts for companies, which have a Russian or Belarusian shareholder.
- Russian users will not be able to create new accounts on Twitter.
- OnlyFans has restricted access to accounts for Russian and Belarusian models.
- YouTube has blocked Russian state-run media channels RT and Sputnik across Europe.
- Major auto manufacturers are leaving Russia. Audi, Volvo, Jaguar, Land Rover, BMW, Mercedes, Citroen, General Motors, Ford, and Skoda have suspended automobile sales to Russia.
- Russian automobile manufacturing company AvtoVAZ will be left without French components. The plant will produce only the old Niva model. As of March 1, prices for new cars increased by 15%, the largest one-time rise in history.
- German Daimler Truck, the world’s largest truck manufacturer, has announced that it will no longer work with Kamaz, the largest manufacturer of heavy-duty trucks in Russia.
- Swedish truck manufacturer Scania has stopped supplying vehicles and spare parts to Russia.
- 32 countries, including the United States, Canada, Britain and the EU, have closed their skies to Russian aircraft, including private planes of Russian oligarchs.
- Russian airline Aeroflot has suspended all flights to Europe since February 28.
- The world’s largest chipmaker TSMC stops supplying semiconductors to Russia. The Russian economy is vulnerable to such measures because it does not produce large quantities of chips, consumer electronics or high-end semiconductors.
- The world’s largest processor manufacturers Intel and AMD have stopped supplying their products to Russia.
- Leading computer manufacturers Dell and Lenovo will not deliver products to Russia.
- Swedish smartphone and communications technology manufacturer Ericsson announced it will no longer do business with Russia.
- Cross-border payments company Wise and international sports betting company Parimatch have suspended operations in Russia.
- Leading logistics companies FedEx, UPD and DHL have stopped delivering parcels and letters to Russian citizens and companies.
- Maersk logistics company has suspended work with all Russian ports and will deliver only critical products such as medicines and humanitarian goods. A similar decision was made by other logistics companies – Singapore’s Ocean Network Express, Germany’s Hapag Lloyd, and Switzerland’s MSC.
- Nike will not deliver goods to Russian customers and has shut down its online store in Russia.
- International job search platform Jooble.org has blocked its Russian page, underlining that Russia has committed a crime in Ukraine.
- Amazon has also closed its service to Russian citizens.
- Zoom has revoked its software development licenses.
- Worldwide network of oncology professionals & patient advocates OncoAlert has stopped cooperating with Russia.
Business community leaves Russia; Russian companies face bankruptcy
- Coca-Cola and Danone leave the Russian market. Danone closes its Prostokvashino subsidiary.
- Austrian Raiffeisen Bank is thinking of leaving the Russian market, despite the fact that the Russian subsidiary brings in a large share of the bank’s profits. Other international banks may follow suit.
- Nord Stream-2 Operator has not filed for bankruptcy but confirmed it terminated employee contracts. The gas pipeline bypassing Ukraine, on which Russia spent over $11 billion, is virtually dead. Germany said it is ready to reduce its dependence on certain suppliers, with a view to reducing purchases from Gazprom, and plans to switch to liquefied natural gas from the United States.
- Canada bans import of crude oil from Russia, as oil revenues have helped to prop up Putin and Russian oligarchs, says Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
- Exxon Mobil will cease all oil and gas operations in Russia. The company will shut down oil and gas production facilities on Sakhalin Island in Russia’s Far East, where it operates three large offshore oil and gas fields. In addition, Exxon will not make new investments.
- Shell withdraws from its joint ventures with Gazprom, the Russian natural gas giant, and other affiliated companies, including a 27.5% stake in Sakhalin-2 liquefied gas plant.
- Britain’s BP ceases all operations with Rosneft. The company announced the sale of 19.75% of Rosneft. CEO Bernard Looney and former chairman Robert Dudley resigned from Rosneft’s board of directors. These measures are of utmost importance because Exxon, Shell and BP have provided Russia with deep drilling technology.
- Italy’s Eni plans to exit the Blue Stream pipeline joint venture with Gazprom.
- Austrian energy company OMV walks away from its joint venture with Gazprom.
- Swiss mining and commodities trading company Glencore will review all its business activities with Russia’s En + and Rosneft.
- French oil and gas company TotalEnergies supports sanctions and will not invest in new projects in Russia.
- Rosatom’s application for permission to purchase a stake in a German nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in Lower Saxony has been withdrawn.
- Boeing suspends support for Russian airlines and operations in Moscow. In particular, the company will no longer provide spare parts for aircraft, will suspend maintenance and technical support of Russian airlines.
- The European Union has banned the supply and lease of aircraft, helicopters and other air technologies to Russia, as well as insurance and maintenance.
- Airbus has announced that it will stop delivering spare parts to Russia and considers shutting down its engineering centre in Moscow.
- Britain and Canada have closed all their ports to Russia. Maritime transport is important in international trade as it carries 70% of traffic. Ukraine has also closed its ports to Russia and calls on other countries to do the same.
Cultural backlash; international sanctions hit all cultural sectors
- Disney, Sony Pictures and Warner Bros. are suspending film rentals in Russia. Warner Bros. canceled the release of its feature film Batman the day before the premiere, scheduled for March 2.
- Russia is excluded from Eurovision-2022.
- Netflix has refused to broadcast Russian films, series and channels.
- The Metropolitan Opera, the Lithuanian National Theatre of Opera and Ballet and the Estonian National Opera have imposed cultural sanctions on organizations supported by the Russian Federation.
- The Frankfurt Book Fair will cease all cooperation with Russia.
- The European Film Academy bans Russian films from this year’s European Film Award.
- The Cannes Film Festival has refused to accept Russian films for screening.
- Famous international artists, groups and bands have canceled live concerts in Russia: Iggy Pop, The Killers, Green Day, Imagine Dragons and many other celebrities.
- The Bavarian State Opera has canceled engagements with Russian opera singer Anna Netrebko and conductor Valeriy Gergiev.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has asked international sports federations to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from international competitions. The IOC has also suspended all Olympic-related sports competitions in Russia and Belarus.
The IOC Executive Committee has ordered that the Russian and Belarusian flags should not be hoisted and the national anthem should not be played at international competitions.
Tennis. International tennis organizations (ITF, WTA, ATP) issued a joint statement condemning Russia and Belarus. They declare the following:
- suspend the WTA/ATP tournament scheduled for October in Moscow
- suspend the Russian Tennis Federation and the Belarusian Tennis Federation in the ITF, ban the national teams from participating in ITF tournaments, and cancel all ITF tournaments in these countries.
- Russian and Belarusian athletes will be allowed to participate in WTA/ATP/ ITF and Grand Slam tournaments, but without their flags or country codes.
- The suspension of the Russian and Belarusian tennis federations is indefinite. In addition, they will not be allowed to vote at the annual ITF general assembly.
Basketball. FIBA suspends all Russian teams from basketball and 3 on 3 tournaments until further notice.
Russian basketball clubs will not take part in the Euroleague and EuroCup.
Football. Adidas suspends all cooperation with Russian football teams.
UEFA has canceled a sponsorship deal with Russia’s Gazprom, worth about 40 million euros per season.
The International Football Federation and UEFA have excluded Russian national football teams and clubs from participating in any of their competition.
The UEFA Executive Committee has rescheduled the UEFA Champions League final for the 2021/22 season from St. Petersburg to the Stade de France in Saint-Denis (near Paris, France).
Germany’s Schalke football club ends partnership agreement with Gazprom.
UK Manchester United ends sponsorship agreement with Aeroflot.
Athletics. The World Athletics Council has imposed sanctions on Russia and Belarus.
All athletes, staff and officials from Russia and Belarus will be suspended from the World Athletics Series with immediate effect.
Upcoming events include the 2022 World Athletics Championships in Oregon, the 2022 Indoor Athletics World Championships in Belgrade and the 2022 World Team Walking Championships in Muscat, Oman.
However, Russian athletes may compete in international competitions under a neutral status, but Russian athletes who received ANA status for 2022 are excluded from World Athletics Series events for the foreseeable future.
Swimming. The International Swimming Federation has restricted participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes. They will be allowed to take part in international tournaments under ANA status. National symbols, as well as the Russian flag and anthem are banned.
Gymnastics. All international gymnastics competitions in Russia and Belarus are cancelled. Moreover, the Russian and Belarusian flags and the national anthems will be banned indefinitely.
All World Cup and World Challenge Cup competitions scheduled in Russia and Belarus will be cancelled. Russia and Belarus will no longer be allowed to organize international competitions until further notice.
Skiing. The International Ski Federation has canceled competitions in Russia and suspended Russian athletes until the end of the season.
Figure skating, ice skating sports. The International Skating Union will exclude all athletes from Russia and Belarus from its competitions.
This includes all types of ice sports, including skating and short track competitions.
Biathlon. Initially, the International Biathlon Federation (IBU) said it would not allow Russia and Belarus to compete under their national flag and other symbols. Their national anthems would not be banned. Only a few neutral athletes could take part in competitions.
Later, the IBU announced that had barred Russian and Belarusian biathletes from participating in all international tournaments under its auspices.
The Ukrainian biathlon team informed the IBU that it would not participate in any of the remaining competitions in the World Cup or the IBU Cup this season. Still, the Ukrainian flag will be raised at the events to honour the Ukrainian team. The IBU also decided that, once the situation allows for participation in biathlon training and competitions again, it will support the Ukrainian athletes and federation financially, logistically and from a technical sports perspective.
Hockey. The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), which are Putin and Lukashenka’s favourite sport, bans Russian and Belarusian clubs and national teams.
The Russian national team will not be allowed to compete at the 2022 World Cup.
Russia will not host the 2023 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships.
In addition, the National Hockey League (NHL) has cut all relations with Russian business partners and will not hold any events in Russia in the foreseeable future.
The NHL has also suspended broadcasting rights in Russia.
Judo. The International Judo Federation has suspended Putin as honourary president and ambassador, a title that the Russian dictator received in 2008.
The federation also cancelled its May 20-22 Grand Slam event in Kazan, Russia.
Taekwondo. The International Taekwondo Federation has stripped Putin of his honourary black belt and banned the Russian and Belarusian flags and anthems at taekwondo competitions.
Furthermore, it will not recognize taekwondo competitions in either Russia or Belarus.
Boxing. The leading world organizations – WBA, WBC, WBO and IBF – have banned all their competitions in Russia.
Russian and Belarusian boxers will be excluded from the international rating list.
However, the current world champions or individual regions will retain their status.
Volleyball. The International Volleyball Federation announced that Russia will not host the 2022 World Cup.
Russian and Belarusian teams are suspended from international competitions.
Chess. The International Chess Federation (FIDE) has banned Russia and Belarus from organizing chess tournaments.
The World Chess Olympiad and FIDE Congress have also been moved from Russia.
Motorsports. Formula 1 has canceled the Russian Grand Prix, which was to take place in Sochi in the fall.
The International Motorsport Federation banned all competitions in Russia and Belarus, and allowed their drivers to compete only under a neutral flag.
Table tennis. The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has banned Russian and Belarusian athletes from participating in competitions under their auspices.
Russian or Belarusian national symbols, colours, flags and anthems will be banned at all ITTF events.
Badminton. The World Badminton Federation bans Russian and Belarusian athletes from participating in all international competitions under its auspices.
All badminton tournaments in Russia and Belarus have been cancelled.
Cycling. The International Cycling Union (UCI) has a barred all Russian and Belarusian athletes from competing in different cycling events: track cycling, road bicycle racing, BMX and mountain biking.
In addition, UCI status is revoked from Gazprom-RusVelo, Vozrozhdenie, Marathon-Tula and other Russian teams. They can no longer participate in international competitions.
Competitions in Russia, including the Moscow and St. Petersburg Grand Prix track cycling competition, the Five Rings of Moscow race and the Granfondo World Series event will be cancelled.
Russian and Belarusian national championships will not be included in the UCI International Calendar.
Mixed martial arts. The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) has suspended the Union of Mixed Martial Arts of the Russian Federation and the Federation of Hand-to-Hand Fighting and MMA of Belarus.
Russian and Belarusian athletes cannot no longer participate in all IMMAF championships in the foreseeable future.
All MMA international tournaments are banned in Russia and Belarus.
Rugby. The World Rugby Council has banned Russia and Belarus from all competitions.
Handball. The European Handball Federation announced the suspension of the Russian and Belarusian national teams, as well as Russian and Belarusian clubs competing in European handball competitions.
E-sports. The Danish tournament operator BLAST will not invite teams from Russia to its tournaments in the near future.
Ukraine’s Natus Vincere has terminated all cooperation with the Russian eSports EsForce holding company.
Ukraine’s Maincast studio will no longer work with Russian Maincast and will not cover the matches of Russian teams, such as Virtus.pro and Gambit.