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Milbank: Zelensky says “peace is more important than profit”. Koch Industries disagrees |

In his heartbreaking speech to Congress, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky demanded more from the United States – and he will get more.

American leaders from all walks of life hailed Zelensky after speaking to them on Wednesday from Kyiv in his drab olive T-shirt – part Winston Churchill and part Che Guevara. For all the cheap politics of the moment (Republicans reflexively blaming President Joe Biden and refusing to applaud when Zelensky thanked Biden), Washington is exceptionally unified in its focus. Neither lawmakers nor the administration support a US-led no-fly zone or any other troop commitment, and congressional hawks are successfully pushing Biden to give Ukraine all the weapons it wants , probably including airplanes.

But Zelensky made another request Wednesday morning, and it’s something all Americans can help with. We can stop buying the products of the companies that continue to fund Vladimir Putin’s war machine, even after all of its horrors – indiscriminately targeting civilians, murdering children – are evident to the world.

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“All American companies must leave Russia. … Leave their market immediately, because it is drenched in our blood,” the young leader said, asking lawmakers “to make sure that Russians don’t get a penny they use to destroy our people”. in Ukraine, the destruction of our country, the destruction of Europe. … Peace is more important than income.

Most American companies understand this. Some 400 American companies and multinationals have withdrawn from Russia, either permanently or temporarily, according to Yale’s Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, who has kept the authoritative list of corporate actions in Russia. Oil companies (BP, Shell, ExxonMobil) and technology companies (Dell, IBM, Apple, Google, Facebook, Twitter) led the way, and many more (McDonald’s, Starbucks, Coca-Cola) eventually followed.

But, according to Sonnenfeld, there are, at the other extreme, 33 companies (as of Wednesday afternoon) forming a ‘hall of shame’, defying demands to leave Russia or reduce their operations there. .

“They are funding the Russian war machine and undermining the whole idea of ​​sanctions,” Sonnenfeld told me. “The idea is to freeze civil society, get people out on the streets and outraged. They undermine effective resolution” and increase the likelihood of continued bloodshed.

Those who want to stop Russia’s murderous attack on Ukraine should stop investing in or buying the products of these companies.

Koch Industries, whose owners have given for years to right-wing causes, is now funding Putin’s war. The people who make Brawny paper napkins, Dixie cups, Quilted Northern toilet paper, Vanity Fair napkins, and Georgia-Pacific lumber are encouraging the spilling of Ukrainian blood.

Do you like Reebok shoes? They are used to trample Ukraine. Authentic Brands Group, which also owns Aeropostale, Eddie Bauer, Brooks Brothers and Nine West, among others, is in the hall of shame.

Before biting into a Cinnabon (or Carvel ice cream, Schlotzsky sandwiches or Aunt Anne’s pretzel), consider that parent company Focus Brands is taking a bite out of democracy in Ukraine.

Subways too. While selling you the All-American Club, it offers Ukrainians the Cold-Cock Combo by refusing to part with its 446 Russian franchises.

Several other domestic brands – Truvia salt and Diamond Crystal (Cargill), Avon cosmetics (Natura), LG appliances, ASUS laptops, Mission tortillas (Gruma) and Pirelli tires – are produced by companies on the shame list.

Are you or your mutual fund invested in Halliburton, Baker Hughes or Schlumberger? So you should know that these oil service companies could deal a serious blow to Putin’s ability to wage war – but they choose profit instead.

Name and shame all the others of the 33: ad agencies BBDO, DDB, and Omnicom; accountant Baker Tilly; manufacturers Air Liquide, Air Products, Greif, IPG Photonics, Linde, Mettler Toledo, Nalco and Rockwool; French hotelier Accor and retailers Auchan, Decathlon and Leroy Merlin; the German wholesaler Metro; Cloudflare cloud service; International Paper; and the Swedish company Oriflame Cosmetics.

Another 72 multinationals have only made partial withdrawals from Russia, such as curtailing current operations or suspending new investments – actions Sonnenfeld calls “highly questionable” and “smokescreens”. Included here: Dunkin Donuts, General Mills, Mondelez (Oreos and other Nabisco products), Mars confectioner, Procter & Gamble, Yum Brands (Pizza Hut, Taco Bell), Hilton, Hyatt and Marriott.

All of these companies could do more to stop Putin’s savagery and war crimes. Because they won’t, we should all be doing more to stop them. Go to Sonnenfeld’s website through the Yale School of Management to make sure you’re not funding companies that fund Putin’s war machine – and reward the vast majority of companies that share Zelensky’s belief that the peace is more important than profit.

Copyright The Washington Post