Businesses leaving Russia are doing more harm – The Bona Venture

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BY NATHAN DASILVA, CONTRIBUTING WRITER

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There’s been a lot of discourse lately about the violent conflict going on between Russia and Ukraine, and why shouldn’t that be the case? It’s current events, and the public ought to be concerned. However, you and I will not be the ones making the final call. That responsibility will fall to the officials we elected. Why would it be any different for the people of Russia? They are people whom we have every reason to believe are at the mercy of an authoritarian regime, yet they are suffering the consequences of their government’s actions.

As this conflict progresses, more and more international businesses are refusing to render service within Russia. According to a running list compiled by the Yale School of Management, banks and payment processors including American Express, Mastercard, Visa and PayPal have stopped service in Russia and with Russian merchants. Other large companies, including Amazon and medical companies that have asserted themselves as guardians of public health like Pfizer, have also ceased operations with any Russian body. They and hundreds of others have moved out as a sign of disapproval for their invasion of Ukraine. The sentiment is reasonable, but the penalty is misplaced. Vladimir Putin doesn’t rely on the cheap food from McDonald’s, but some civilian families do. High-ranking government officials will get the medical treatment they need from their limited supplies, but the day laborer might not be so lucky. The denial of luxuries from companies like Disney and Coca-Cola won’t prove lethal to the Russian people, but it sure will send them a clear message from the outside world: These sanctions are not here to punish your politicians. We want to punish you.

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Maybe I’m being too soft on a hostile country, and I do recognize that the sanctions will hurt the already weak Russian economy. That doesn’t change the point, however, that we are not just hurting a statistic. We are harming a people that may not yet be against us. Reporting from our own media in the New York Times and information from our own Department of State suggest that the Russian people are bombarded regularly with false information about NATO. They are told constantly that we are their enemy. Yet, according to surveys from Russia’s only independent survey institute, the Levada Center, they are not eager for war but more than 50% are afraid that it is coming regardless of their actions. Petitions and protests in the past have not slowed their government down and similar actions now are being met with clear danger. They are not a people up in arms against us, but a population victimized and exploited by their own caretakers.

I will not say that we should leave Russia and Ukraine to their own devices. That is a much more complex matter than this. Nor am I here to assign blame, as it is far beyond my station, just as it is beyond the office of any business executive sitting in their ivory towers. If Putin and his associates are indeed guilty of warmongering and other abominable crimes, then let them go before some tribunal of man. Then before God to be judged. What I will say today is that the punishment doled out by these companies does not serve to condemn the actions of the Russian government but to diminish the lives of the Russian people. If the issue is solely economic, then it is respectable enough, but do not feign a concern for justice where there is little to be found.

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CHOOSE YOUR CHOICE GIFT CARD OFFER TODAY



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