How U.S. Companies are still Profiting from the Russo-Ukraine War

Hundreds of U.S.-based companies have ceased operations in Russia in protest of their invasion of Ukraine, but some companies are either defiantly continuing their operations or using loopholes to act as a middleman. After public pressure ramped up in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, numerous multi-national companies ceased their operations in the country. But business is still business, and some companies cannot resist the financial possibilities that remain in Russia.

The New York-based investment bank, Goldman Sachs, is acting as a middleman between U.S. investors and Moscow creditors. This revelation came after the company publicly said that they are winding down operations in Russia and are not working with sanctioned counterparts. Goldman Sachs is using a loophole in existing US and internationally imposed sanctions that allow the trading of Russian assets in markets not directly associated with Russian financial institutions. As a result, U.S. investors can now buy Russian debt securities at an all-time low and sell them later for a substantial profit. Goldman Sachs is not alone in its efforts; JPMorgan Chase announced that they were slowing operations in Russia while simultaneously recommending that their investors buy Russian bonds. These investment banks are giving Russian creditors and oligarchs access to much-needed cash. Western countries have frozen their assets and removed them from SWIFT, making it extremely difficult for Russian oligarchs to access funds.

Koch Industries is among 34 companies still fully operating in Russia. The company has defiantly doubled down on its operations in the country. The company has made clear it will continue to operate two glass factories while adhering to sanctions and regulations. Political organizations associated with the Koch Industries have been arguing against broad economic sanctions in favor of more targeted penalties against oligarchs and leaders. For the first two weeks of the invasion, these companies remained silent on the topic. However, public pressure forced them to take a stance. They verbally condemned the attack while doing nothing of substance to change their business practices.

Both the middlemen bankers like Goldman Sachs and companies like Koch Industries show a public face of virtue while privately continuing business as usual. Corporations operate on a different set of standards than governments do and will do everything in their power to retain their profitable business ventures. Coca-Cola and other multinational companies that pulled out of Russia did so on the calculation that negative public opinion would be more detrimental to their bottom line. Goldman Sachs and Koch Industries decided that preserving their business interests in Russia would be more profitable in the long term and that they could weather any negative press. The bottom line is that corporations are not concerned about Ukraine because of the humanitarian crisis; they are squarely focused on maximizing profits.

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5 Responses

  1. Gabe & Phil

    The lead article about US companies still doing business in Russia was illuminating. As the world continues to ignite economic sanctions against Russia, it’s so important that the public engages similarly—refusing to support any companies still doing business in Russia. Providing a link to those US “bottom-line” international corporations with a presence in Russia is much appreciated. I will continue to never patronize Subway, even when the war ends.
    Thank you for your great work!

  2. whoah this blog is wonderful i really like reading your articles. Keep up the great paintings! You realize, a lot of people are hunting round for this info, you could help them greatly.

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