Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, global companies are severing their ties with Russia. Among these are sporting giants, including international sports organisations like FIFA and UEFA. Such moves may not stop the hostilities on their own, but they send a sign to the Russian state and citizens on what remains acceptable and what does not.
As the Russian invasion of Ukraine intensifies, more and more international companies are cutting their business relationship with Russia. Among the companies that have either halted their operations or divested, a growing number of sports and gaming organisations have also started to exclude Russia from their ranks. FIFA and UEFA have both stripped Russia of its memberships while the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC), the International Tennis Federation and the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile have also blocked Russia.
Ukrainian Vice Prime Minister has also called on organisations to support Ukraine. Mykhailo Fedorov recently called on the PlayStation and Xbox organisations to temporarily suspend operations in Russia after Apple stops sales in the country.
“You are definitely aware of what is happening in Ukraine right now. Russia declare war not for Ukraine but for all civilised world. If you support human values, you should live (leave) the Russian market!” he said on Twitter.
pic.twitter.com/tnQr13BsSv— Mykhailo Fedorov (@FedorovMykhailo) March 2, 2022Some may question the efficacy of two video game networks, the biggest though they may be, halting operations in Russia may achieve to stop the Russian advance apart from just optics.
However, divestment and cessation of business activities have been noted to achieve major political change in earlier instances. The divestment and cessation of business in South Africa in the late 1980s and early 1990s was thought to be behind the end of the Apartheid regime. During the period, over 200 US companies cut their ties with South Africa leading to the flight of $1 billion in direct American investments, which further resulted in capital flight and double-digit inflation.
While the situation is not similar today, the motive remains the same. Though stoppage of many goods and services, including those of video game networks, will achieve nothing on the war front, they serve to create significant domestic dissent and pressure on Russian authorities to cease the activities that lead to such measures.
Economic sanctions that erode the wealth of everyday Russians is one thing, where the Russian state and central bank can theoretically intervene to make matters less severe. But when Russian citizens are not able to purchase clothes and cars, not able to receive international goods, and yes, not able to play their video games, the domestic dissent can start to pile up.
Additionally, international companies by continuing to engage in business with Russia are implicitly approving the actions of Russian President Vladimir Putin in his war against the Ukrainians. It was the implicit support of German business houses that propelled Adolf Hitler through his conquest of Europe that cost millions their lives.
Many companies and organisations cannot directly aid the Ukrainian on the frontlines, but the silent continuation of relations as usual with the Russian state is a blatant disregard to what is happening in the far corners of East Europe; where the world order of rules clashes with that of domination with thousands of lives at risk.
Here is the list of all companies that have responded to the Russian war of aggression: