Starbucks announces plans to leave Russia, shutting down more than 100 stores

Starbucks announced its exit from the Russian market on Monday, citing Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine as the reason. According to the Washington Examiner, employees were notified of the decision via a memo. The Seattle-based coffee giant had already halted all commercial activities at its 130 outlets across the nation, which are run by a Kuwaiti franchise partner, before its complete departure. 

Thousands of Russians who work in coffee shops are affected by the decision. Starbucks has stated that it will continue to pay those employees and assist them in finding other jobs. The company stated, “We will continue to support the nearly 2,000 green apron partners in Russia, including pay for six months and assistance for partners to transition to new opportunities outside of Starbucks.” CEO Kevin Johnson said, “Through this dynamic situation, we will continue to make decisions that are true to our mission and values and communicate with transparency. Thank you for the care and concern you are sharing with me and your leaders.”

In early March, after Starbucks decided to halt operations in Russia, Johnson condemned the conflict in Ukraine as “horrific.” He expressed solidarity for the Russian workers affected by the war and the decision to suspend business in Russia. The decision is the latest in a string of business exodus from Russia, which has been hit by harsh sanctions and international criticism for its invasion.

McDonald’s began selling its Russian assets and withdrew its corporation from the country earlier this month. The fast-food chain, like Starbucks, halted all operations in the nation. Additionally, McDonald’s said it plans to sell its “entire portfolio” of businesses to a Russian bidder. Starbucks’ decision comes after President Joe Biden signed legislation providing Ukraine with $40 billion in aid as the conflict continues. The war started three months ago and has resulted in thousands of deaths and claims of war crimes.

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