According to Vazhnyye Istorii, an independent Russian portal, 20% of foreign businesses have fled the Russian market since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Despite numerous announcements that they will stop doing business in Russia after February 24, 2022, just 20% of these companies have actually left the country entirely.
The number of organizations listed in the Russian legal persons register that are owned by people of nations that are considered to be “unfriendly” to Russia has declined by more than 2,600 during the past 14 months. These businesses have had ownership changes, have been dissolved, or are in the process of being dissolved.
Automobile conglomerates, such as Mercedes-Benz, Renault, Nissan, and Mazda, predominate among these businesses. The American fast-food giant McDonald’s and the British petrochemical conglomerate Shell are also on the list. According to opposition Russian media, the reputation of these corporations determines the outcome of their investments in other nations.
Enterprises must obtain the required licenses to withdraw money from Russia. The commission in charge of issuing these documents, however, only meets three times every month. The commission can decide to reject an application and can only review up to seven at once.
Companies that are “leaving the door open” for themselves are among the ones that officially departed Russia. According to Vazhnyye Istorii, foreign businesses frequently retain the option to repurchase shares, change their country of registration to one that is “friendly” to Russia, like Kazakhstan, Turkey, or China, or transfer their activities to vetted people, like those from Belarus.
The experience of Viktor Uspaskich, a Lithuanian member of the European Parliament, serves as an illustration of such actions. His children, who made investments in Russia, are now the owners of his business and have Belarusian passports. Additionally, according to the opposition portal, the foam rubber manufacturer Organika-Kunieck, which was run by a Polish business for ten years, is today owned by a company from the same capital group that is registered in Bosnia and Herzegovina.