Dozens of Western companies have fled Russia in recent days, abandoning inventory, property and investments worth billions and now sitting idle. Russia has a solution for how to deal with that: a senior member of Russia’s ruling party has proposed nationalizing foreign-owned factories that shut down operations in the country over what the Ukraine invasion.
Toyota, Nike and IKEA are among the companies that have announced shutdowns of stores and factories in Russia in order to put pressure on the Kremlin to stop its invasion of neighboring Ukraine. In a statement published on Monday evening on the United Russia website, the secretary of the ruling party’s general council Andrei Turchak said that shutting operations was a “war” against the citizens of Russia.
The statement mentioned Finnish privately-owned food companies Fazer, Valio and Paulig as the latest to announce closures in Russia.
“United Russia proposes nationalizing production plants of the companies that announce their exit and the closure of production in Russia during the special operation in Ukraine,” Turchak said.
“This is an extreme measure, but we will not tolerate being stabbed in the back, and we will protect our people. This is a real war, not against Russia as a whole, but against our citizens,” he said. “We will take tough retaliatory measures, acting in accordance with the laws of war.”
Paulig Chief Executive told Reuters in an email that this would not change its plans to withdraw from Russia.
Fazer, which makes chocolate, bread and pastries, has three bakeries in St Petersburg and one in Moscow, employing around 2,300 people. Valio has one cheese factory and employs 400 people in Russia, and Paulig has a coffee roastery and employs 200 people in the country.