Russia Is Getting Canceled
Russia is getting deplatformed from the world. The war in Ukraine is in many ways a traditional military clash involving tanks, missiles, diplomats, and supply lines. But nonstate actors have started taking sides—well, taking one side—in ways that the world hasn’t seen before, with private sector businesses and international organizations responding to Russia’s attack on its neighbor by cutting ties with Moscow, and in some cases sacrificing huge sums of money. Combined with the sanctions imposed by the United States and Europe (and perhaps motivated by them too), this mass exodus of foreign capital is demonstrating how the market can punish even powerful states for dangerous and unjustified behavior.
Shell, General Motors, BP, and other major firms have announced plans to leave Russia. FedEx and Germany-based shipping firm DHL are suspending deliveries to Russia, and Denmark-based Maersk, the world’s largest container shipping company, says it is considering suspending all shipments to Russia.
“Companies are basically saying, ‘We don’t want to be part of this,'” Nick Tsafos, an expert on energy and geopolitics at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, tells The Washington Post. The Post notes that some of these moves are being made despite huge costs: Shell is abandoning several joint projects with Russia-based Gazprom, sacrificing more than $3 billion.
When the Cold War ended, Bloomberg reports, businesses poured into Russia to take advantage of a freshly open market with millions of new customers and the country’s vast natural resources. The past few days have been a stunning reversal of that same rush, with energy companies, major international law firms, and exporters either announcing plans to scale down their operations in Russia or exit the country entirely:
The list of those cutting ties or reviewing their operations is growing by the hour as foreign governments ratchet up sanctions against Russia, close airspace to its aircraft and lock some banks out of the SWIFT money messaging system. With the ruble plunging and the U.S. banning transactions with the Russian central bank, operating in Russia has become deeply problematic. Some companies have concluded that the risks, both reputational and financial, are too great to continue.
The exodus is not limited to “hard” industries like energy and banking. Entertainment companies and the organizers of international sporting events have moved swiftly to exclude, cancel, and ban Russia. Disney is canceling all future film releases in Russia. The upcoming Batman film will not be released in Russia, Warner Bros. announced. And Netflix said Monday that it will not comply with new Russian rules requiring that it carry state television programming, a decision that will likely result in the streaming service being banned from Russian internet networks.
Even FIFA, the hideously corrupt international body that governs global soccer and organizes the World Cup, is taking action against Russia. After several European national teams said they would refuse to play Russia in upcoming World Cup qualifying matches, FIFA announced on Monday that it would give Russia the boot.
We are witnessing the fir
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