In the course of his ongoing psychosis and attacks against the United States and the West, Vladimir Putin recently asserted that the economic sanctions imposed were a declaration of war against Russia. What that means is that the sanctions are hurting. In essence this should serve as an impetus for all to ratchet up sanctions and apply even more pressure.
The United States of America today banned the import of Russian oil, liquid gas and coal:
I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, hereby expand the scope of the national emergency… Accordingly, I hereby order: Section 1. (a) The following are prohibited: (i) the importation into the United States of the following products of Russian Federation origin: crude oil; petroleum; petroleum fuels, oils, and products of their distillation; liquefied natural gas; coal; and coal products;
This was done with the approval of America’s allies. It would appear that Western governments are doing their part. We need to continue doing ours.
This is a followup with pragmatic suggestions to a list compiled by the Yale School of Management of companies that remain in Russia with significant exposure compiled by Jeffrey Sonnenfeld. Since this list was compiled Сoca-Cola, McDonald’s, Pepsi and Starbucks have left Russia. This list for the moment includes such titans as Bridgestone, Caterpillar, Citi, Deere, Hilton, Honeywell, Hyatt, Intercontinental, Kellogg, Kraft Heinz, Marriott, Mars, Nestle, Otis, Papa John’s, Philip Morris, Pirelli. Some do more business in Russia than others. Intercontinental has only one location, but that is one too many and can be easily eliminated.
It has been suggested that the approach to accomplish our goal should be two prong. The first is to pressure investment giants such as Blackrock, Vanguard, State Street, Fidelity, etc. urging them (and their clients) to sell their portfolio positions in these companies still operating in Russia. This can be done by directly contacting these firms or by reaching out to their clients (which include large pension funds private and government, endowments of not for profits and the like) to divest themselves from companies with Russian exposure. This should compel the companies doing business in Russia to consider a moral compass or the bottom line.
The second prong is relatively easy to initiate, but it does require widespread and even global response, cooperation and adherence. Initiating a boycott of a company’s products is as easy as presenting it on social media and having it go viral. What makes it viral are its recipients and actors. No company in Russia wants to see its sales worldwide diminish because it insists on doing business in Russia.
Most companies on the list accrue less than 10% of its gross global income from Russia. With only 10% or less of its business revenue coming from Russia, the loss of Russian income would be more than compensated by its business elsewhere as a result of good publicity or in reverse, a decrease elsewhere (around the globe) amounting to more than 10% of its gross income under adequate pressure and a boycott would make its Russian venture not cost effective. Thus the leverage is greatly on our side.
Every individual can become a part of this effort from the comfort of his/her own home. We have witnessed the limits of diplomacy – both in speed and scope of action. Civil society is not bound by the same set of rules and this is how we can play an active and effective role.
The war in Ukraine, aside from the civilian casualties on our side, is going better than was to be expected. The aerial attacks are very troubling and the lack of protected sky is frustrating. Naturally the lack of a NATO no fly zone over Ukraine’s sky will not be compensated for by Polish Mig 29’s but they are familiar to Ukraine’s pilots and Ukraine will be that much more competitive in the air. We need to carry on, work with our Western governments and on our own and with God’s help good will triumph over evil. We in the diaspora can do a lot as long as we remember the metaphor, that we are a great nation like ants with each member scurrying and doing his/her part.
March 8, 2022 Askold S. Lozynskyjthe