(Moscow-on-Thames) Why haven’t Western companies lined up to demand that their governments repeal sanctions on Russia? After all, hadn’t they been used to making oodles of rubles? Wouldn’t they like to make some more.
I’ve never had much patience for the peculiarly Russian question of “кому это выгодно” – literally, “who benefits” – when it comes to policy analysis. It implies a logic that is simpler and more transparent than reality actually allows for a bit more solipsism than is generally healthy. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not worth following the money (to use the American idiom) – not because it always gets you where you need to go, but because it generally at least points in an interesting direction. And in the case of Russia and sanctions, it is particularly interesting to look at exactly who is making money in Russia.
To the rescue rides the Russian edition of Forbes, which just published a list of the 50 biggest foreign companies in Russia (by turnover). As Forbes notes, the list is full of German, French, American and other multi-national corporations, who together did several trillion rubles in business in Russia last year (sanctions be damned). The list runs the gamut from retailers like Auchan to consumer electronics companies like Apple, with automakers, pharmaceuticals, FMCG and a bunch of other things in between.
The interesting question, though, isn’t who’s doing business in Russia, but who’s doing an inordinate amount of business in Russia. […]
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