Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, 20 percent of foreign companies have left the Russian market, according to the independent Russian portal Vazhnyye Istorii. Many foreign companies announced the termination of their operations in Russia after February 24, 2022, but only 20 percent of these businesses have completely withdrawn from the country.
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Over the past 14 months, the number of entities registered in the Russian legal persons register, owned by citizens of “unfriendly” countries towards Russia has decreased by more than 2,600. These companies have changed owners, been liquidated, or are in the process of liquidation.
Among these companies, automotive conglomerates dominate, including Mercedes-Benz, Renault, Nissan, and Mazda. The list also includes British petrochemical conglomerate Shell and American fast-food chain McDonald’s. The success of their investments in other countries depends on the reputation of these companies, as explained by opposition Russian journalists.
To withdraw capital from Russia, enterprises need to obtain the necessary permits. However, the commission responsible for issuing such documents meets only three times a month. At one time, the commission considers no more than seven applications and has the authority to reject them.
Among the companies that formally left Russia are entities that are “leaving the door open” for themselves. Foreign enterprises often retain the right to repurchase shares, change their country of registration to a “friendly” country towards Russia, such as Kazakhstan, Turkey, or China, or transfer their operations to trusted individuals, such as those from Belarus, as reported by Vazhnyye Istorii.
An example of such practices is the story of the Lithuanian Member of the European Parliament Viktor Uspaskich. The owner of his company, investing in Russia, is now his children holding Belarusian passports. Additionally, the producer of foam rubber, Organika-Kuźnieck, managed by a Polish company for ten years, currently belongs to a company from the same capital group registered in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as reported by the opposition portal.