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The new era of Russian business politics
Since the early aftermath of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, many major Western companies have been in various stages of divesting from Russia. Nearly a year and a half into the war, we’ve entered a new phase of business relations, as the Kremlin has started nationalizing foreign companies’ Russian assets. The latest watershed moment occurred on April 25, when Putin issued an executive order allowing the Russian authorities to place the Russian assets of companies from “unfriendly nations” under the state’s “temporary administration.” As a result, Russia seized the assets of Uniper Russia, including Uniper’s 84% stake in the power generation company Unipro, which was valued at $5.5 billion before the invasion.
More recently, earlier this week, President Putin placed the Russian subsidiaries of French yogurt maker Danone and Danish brewer Carlsberg under the Russian state’s “temporary management,” effectively seizing these businesses. The Federal Property Management Agency has already entrusted Danone Russia’s CEO position to Ramzan Kadyrov’s nephew.
For some guidance through this tumultuous period of international sanctions and elite business politics in Russia, Meduza spoke to Alexandra Prokopenko, a nonresident scholar at the Carnegie Russia Eurasia Center, who worked at Russia’s Central Bank and at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow from 2017 until early 2022.
Timestamps for this episode:
- (2:15) Putin seizes Unipro
- (4:23) Putin seizes Danone Russia and Baltika
- (8:55) Has the war been good for business?
- (12:59) Where’s the business community stand on the invasion?
- (15:26) The fight over Western assets
- (17:23) Chinese business interests (and unease) in all these confiscations and fire sales
Production and mixing by Ania Kovalenko. Sound editing by Kevin Rothrock.
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