Ukrainian security council sanctions Russia’s richest woman & her online delivery empire Wildberries, barring it from country
Russia’s largest e-commerce and delivery giant has now been barred from operating in Ukraine, after officials said earlier this year that the firm could face restrictions over the sale of books featuring “anti-Ukrainian content.”
On Friday, the country’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, signed an order introducing sanctions against Wildberries and its owner, Tatyana Bakalchuk. Under the provisions, the online retailer will see its assets blocked and be prevented from moving goods through Ukraine. It will also be prevented from accessing telecommunications services or selling technology and intellectual property rights. Bakalchuk will face personal restrictions on travel to the country.
In January, the head of licensing at Ukraine’s State Committee for Television and Radio Broadcasting said that Wildberries was likely to be included in upcoming versions of the country’s national sanctions list. According to Sergey Oleinik, the company “makes profits in Ukraine while paying taxes in the aggressor state,” meaning Russia. According to him, the service offers customers access to uncensored books that include supposedly anti-Ukrainian content. At the same time, Oleinik complained that low prices for literature were making competition hard for traditional sellers.Also on rt.com Missed delivery: Why does Amazon, the company that sells nearly everything, nearly everywhere, do next to no business in Russia?
Reacting to the news over the weekend, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova mocked the new directive, saying that it applied a double standard to the Russian company that it was not applying to its competitors. “You can find T-shirts with [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and the uniform of the Russian Army in online stores,” she said. “I wonder when Amazon and [its CEO] Jeff Bezos will face the brunt of Ukrainian sanctions,” she asked, “or is it different?”
Ukraine already has a number of stringent rules banning the import of Russian-language content, such as films and TV shows. However, officials in Kiev deny that this constitutes censorship, arguing instead that it is necessary to protect the Ukrainian language and resist foreign propaganda. Almost all Ukrainians have a command of Russian, and it is a majority language in much of the east and south of the country.
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