Starbucks & McDonald’s Cease Operations In Russia To Protest Putin

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Images from newscasts showing the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine has led consumers to demand a reaction from corporations doing business in Russia. Two businesses who had not yet acted are Starbucks and McDonald’s. After outrage grew, both announced their decision on Tuesday to suspend all business.

McDonald’s employs more than 62,000 people in Russia with 850 restaurants across the country. Shutting down business there did not appear to be an easy decision for the company, whose faithful employees will be harmed by the decision. To address this, McDonald’s announced that it would continue to pay the salaries of all McDonald’s employees in Russia.

In an email to McDonald’s employees and franchises, McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski wrote that:

‘Our values mean we cannot ignore the needless human suffering unfolding in Ukraine…McDonald’s has decided to temporarily close all our restaurants in Russia and pause all operations in the market. We understand the impact this will have on our Russian colleagues and partners, which is why we are prepared to support all three legs of the stool in Ukraine and Russia.’

Accounting for less than one percent of the total business revenue there, with about 130 outlets in Russia and Ukraine, Starbucks has the smaller presence there of the corporations announcing their decisions to suspend business in Russia on Tuesday.

In a letter announcing the decision, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson wrote that:

‘We continue to watch the tragic events unfold and, today, we have decided to suspend all business activity in Russia, including shipment of all Starbucks products. Our licensed partner has agreed to immediately pause store operations and will provide support to the nearly 2,000 partners in Russia who depend on Starbucks for their livelihood.’

McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Coca-Cola join businesses like Mastercard, Visa, Apple, Disney, Ikea, BP, Exxon, PayPal, and a long list of other companies who have taken steps to address the crisis. Each cite the aggression ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin against the fledgling democracy of Ukraine as the reason for their decision, even if they don’t name him personally.

PayPal CEO Dan Schulman wrote to Deputy Prime Minister Federov of Ukraine:

‘PayPal supports the Ukrainian people and stands with the international community in condemning Russia’s violent military aggression in Ukraine…under the current circumstances, we are suspending our PayPal services in Russia. We are also doing all that we can to support our staff in the region during this deeply difficult time.’