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10 Mar, 2022 13:33

Russia may ‘nationalize’ assets of Apple, IKEA & McDonald’s

The measure could affect dozens of major foreign companies that have halted operations in the country over the fighting in Ukraine
Russia may ‘nationalize’ assets of Apple, IKEA & McDonald’s

Russia could nationalize the assets of 59 major foreign brands that have decided to stop working in the country in protest against Moscow's ongoing military offensive in Ukraine.

The likes of Apple, IKEA, Microsoft, IBM, Shell, McDonald's, Volkswagen, Porsche, Toyota, H&M and others have featured on the schedule compiled by consumer protection group the Public Consumer Initiative (OPI), according to a report in newspaper Izvestia on Thursday.

The list isn’t final, Oleg Pavlov, the group’s head, told the outlet, adding that the police, the Trade Ministry and consumer watchdog Rospotrebnadzor will also be involved in work to expand it.

“As soon as companies emerge that announce their withdrawal [from the Russian market] without providing guarantees to the Russian consumers, they’re being added on to it. This means that administrative, criminal and court proceedings will be used against them,” the OPI chief said.

The blacklisted foreign firms could be subject to seizure of accounts and assets, may be placed under external management, or face nationalization, Pavlov pointed out. Nationalization refers to the process of transforming privately-owned assets into public ones under the control of a government.

OPI has also warned the administrations of the listed firms about possible criminal liability over intentional bankruptcy and large-scale fraud.

The deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council and former president of Russia Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday that government has already been working on measures in response to the withdrawal of foreign companies from the country, including “bankruptcy and nationalization of assets.”

“The most urgent task is to prevent the people from being left in the street, to create new businesses on the basis of those that the foreign investors abandoned in panic,” Medvedev said, calling such moves “justified and fair.”

The idea of nationalizing the assets of foreign firms, which decided to halt operations in Russia over its offensive in Ukraine, was first floated by the ruling United Russia party on Monday, and later backed by the government’s law-making commission.

Moscow insisted that sending its troops to Ukraine in late February was the only way to prevent the “genocide” by Ukraine in the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The aim of the attack is to “denazify” and “demilitarize” the government in Kiev, it holds.

Ukraine denies Moscow’s justification for the incursion and accuses it of waging an unprovoked war.