Will Russia’s Isolation Last? – The New York Times

Many international businesses in tech and other industries have been shutting down in Russia since the Ukrainian invasion.

It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post. Look at the crisis of the past.

In 2018, Saudi Arabian operatives assassinated and dismembered Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, sparking a statewide condemnation that allowed American intelligence to carry out the assassination. Some, albeit far-fetched, foreign companies and technological powers withdrew from business deals with Saudi Arabia.

But in half a year many global companies were back.

The situation is very different in Saudi Arabia and Russia, but both draw attention to the problem for global corporations, especially technology companies whose digital services cross borders: should you work in countries where government behavior is unacceptable?

Many American tech executives have come to believe that economic and cultural interrelationships between nations, industries, and citizens help prevent conflict and make everyone better. But as my colleague Patricia Cohen wrote, Russia’s war is the latest challenge to the ideal of global engagement to maintain peace.

Powerful companies – especially tech companies with their public profiles and assets – are increasingly under pressure to withdraw their business to force changes in government laws or standards around the world under pressure from their customers, employees or elected officials.

Global retailers have been pressured into claiming profits from forced labor in China’s Xinjiang region. Opponents of the Texas abortion ban have demanded that companies like Uber and Tesla take a stand against the law. Proponents of free speech urged Facebook and Twitter to ignore the Indian government’s ban on citizens protesting new agricultural laws.

Companies sometimes find themselves in a position to choose principles that are more profitable, with systemic change often having uncertain obstacles.

Following Khashoggi’s assassination, some leaders in technology and other industries decided to distance themselves from Saudi Arabia.

Google and Amazon appear to have stalled talks with Saudi government officials to build a computer data center. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has revoked its pledge to a non-profit organization headed by the real ruler of the state, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Hollywood agency Endeavor returned $ 400 million from Saudi Arabia’s investment fund.

In many cases, international businesses lowered their public profile and resumed relations with Saudi Arabia when the heat subsided. There was a lot of potential money at stake.

Responding to the Chinese government is the biggest challenge for global companies. Beijing enacted a comprehensive national security law in 2020 that brought Hong Kong closer to China’s censorship and undisclosed digital surveillance. Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon and others responded by threatening to evacuate the city.

My colleague Paul Mozore told me that tech companies have mostly stayed in Hong Kong because their worst fear – raids on companies and arrests of employees for non-compliance with the law – is not possible. He said companies continue to evaluate every step or signal of the government.

Each country poses unique challenges to the global corporations that trade there. Russia launched an unprovoked war against the neighboring country and most of the world united behind Ukraine. The mass withdrawal of businesses from Russia – either by choice or, in the case of Facebook, blocked by the government – is also different from their absence in long-separated countries such as Iran and North Korea.

Karen E., a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute. Young said Saudi Arabia and Russia are different in other respects. “The Saudi government and the Saudi leadership have very quickly realized the importance of integrating into international markets,” she said. “Putin seems ready to throw it out.”

Jeffrey Sonenfeld of the Yale School of Management wrote in Fortune that what he called the “Great Business Retreat” from Russia would probably lead to a change of leadership. He writes that when international companies severed ties with South Africa decades ago, their actions escalated international government sanctions and helped end the country’s apartheid regime.

Dean Gregory Fairchild of the University of Virginia’s North Virginia campus, whose research focuses on corporate strategy and ethics, said authoritarian leaders in Russia and other countries may be counting on foreign governments and corporations to sustain their revolts and sanctions. .

“There’s a half-life to the aggression attached to the news cycle,” Dr. Fairchild said. Many leaders have “sufficient evidence that we will no longer care.”

Further reading:


  • The next Theranos trial: The trial of Sunny Balwani, Holmes’ ex-boyfriend and former deputy, is set to begin on Wednesday after Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes was found guilty of defrauding investors in her blood-testing start-up. Allegations of fraud. My colleagues David Streetfeld and Erin Woo preview the case and Balwani’s business history.

  • The absurdity of being online during the war: One sociologist told The Atlantic, “We’re waiting to see what’s coming, wishing we could do more to stop this stuff.” (Subscription may be required.)

  • College freshmen who track Elon Musk’s jets around the world are now planning Follow the aircraft and yachts of Russian billionairesBloomberg News reports. (Subscription may be required.) A related mystery: is this superhero super-connected Russian – maybe even Putin?

Do you know who loves Berry? Less Kudu (a type of antelope) at the Hobbs, Cincinnati Zoo.


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