As the conflict between Russia and Ukraine intensifies, the West has resorted to its favorite pressure tactics of imposing various sanctions on Russia. Corporates, cultural bodies, and sporting associations have also jumped into the fray to show their solidarity with Ukraine that is facing an ‘invasion’; in other words, these bodies are blindly toeing the line of America, NATO, and other Western nations.
Automobile sector shuts down its plants in Russia
As nations around the globe slap heavy sanctions on Russia, several top automakers have halted production at their respective facilities in the country and paused exports as Russian forces entered key Ukrainian cities.
Toyota Motor Corporation said it would halt production at its Russian factory while Daimler Truck too had earlier announced that it would be halting all of its business activities in Russia including a joint venture with Russian truck maker Kamaz. Daimler’s former parent company Mercedes-Benz, Swedish truck maker AB Volvo, and Ford Motor Company have also suspended operations in Russia until further notice.
French carmaker Renault has already suspended some operations at its car assembly plants in Russia due to logistics bottlenecks. South Korea’s Hyundai Group said it would suspend its car assembly plant in St Petersburg this week due to supply chain disruptions but will resume operations next week reported Wall Street Journal.
Czech carmaker Skoda Auto, which is a part of Volkswagen, said it would limit some production due to supply shortages. Interestingly, Russia was Skoda’s second-largest market last year. Similarly, US automaker General Motors and Swedish automaker Volvo Cars have also announced the suspension of all vehicle exports to Russia until further notice. BMW has also halted the export to Russia, saying it would stop production there due to supply bottlenecks.
Harley-Davidson halted business and shipments of motorcycles to Russia as have luxury car-makers Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) and Aston Martin. Along with carmakers, shipping giants and logistics companies like MSC and Maersk, have suspended container shipping to and from Russia, the report mentioned.
Sports organizations, cultural bodies, and corporate sector acts against Russia
Not just automobile companies but even sporting bodies have announced the suspension of the country from their events. Formula One has terminated its contract with the Russian Grand Prix, contradicting the decision of the governing body, the FIA that had ruled to allow Russian competitors to take part in global motorsport events. “Formula One can confirm it has terminated its contract with the Russian Grand Prix promoter meaning Russia will not have a race in the future,” the statement said.
The FIA has already faced a backlash from the decision by its world motorsport council on Tuesday. The following day UK motorsport’s governing body banned all Russian license holders from competing in the UK. The FIA justified its decision by saying it was in line with the policy of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Among those who have suspended their services in Russia is the Swedish music streaming giant Spotify which has shut down its office in Russia and removed content from state-backed media outlets RT and Sputnik. The music streaming service said that it will continue to stream in Russia, a market it entered in July 2020 along with Ukraine and 10 other European countries.
Tech platforms including YouTube, Meta (Facebook and Instagram), and Twitter have all blocked RT and Sputnik accounts, with Apple and Google following suit in their respective app stores. Meta has expanded a ban on Russian state media outlets RT and Sputnik on Facebook and Instagram globally to stop the flow of misinformation as Russian forces make deeper inroads into Ukraine.
Earlier, Italy’s Milan University had canceled a course on famous Russian novelist Dostoevsky before better sense prevailed and the course was reinstated. Similarly, the Glasgow Film Festival had withdrawn two Russian titles as a response to the Ukrainian Film Academy.
Earlier, American companies Google Pay and Apple Pay services were suspended in the country. The US imposed sanctions on two of Russia’s biggest financial institutions, Sberbank and VTB Bank while the UK froze the assets of five Russian banks. America announced that the US, Canada, and European Union (EU) will be removing Russian banks from SWIFT which is the payment system used for most international financial transactions.
This isn’t all, the ‘civilized’ West has gone to the extent of denying Russian cancer patients the benefit of international cooperation as ‘non-political’ OncoAlert pulled out of all collaborations in the country.
Sillier still was banning Russian cats from being imported and participating in shows till the end of May this year.
In fact, it gets even more absurd with digital streaming platforms like Disney jumping in to show their solidarity towards Ukraine.
Sure enough, these are pressure tactics and the cancel culturists aim to leverage the emotions of young social media users who are taken in by such stunts. However, it must be reiterated that such tactics actually highlight the highhandedness of imperialist nations such as the US who want the world to toe their line.
The biggest lesson for Bharat is West is no one’s ally and certainly not ours, if at all anything then we must never forget that the US supplies arms and monetary aid to Bharat’s biggest foe – Islamist Pakistan that has been systematically carrying out terrorist strikes against us.
Importantly, the left-liberals cozying up to the West and displaying their ‘Aman ki Asha’ towards the terrorist nation would do well to remember that we are on our own when it comes to defending our sovereignty and may actually take a leaf out of the books of those they admire. It is always important to put the nation’s interest above everything else. If the West deems it fit to cut off sporting ties with a nation it believes to be an aggressor then Bharat certainly doesn’t need cricketing ties and ‘Aman ki Asha’ with an aggressor that is hell-bent on destroying it.
Bharat also faced the threat of sanctions post-Pokhran II even though the impact wasn’t long-lasting and Bharat emerged unscathed and stronger. Similarly, these sanctions might not impact Putin’s plans nor impact his country’s economy in the manner the West hopes it would, however, it does highlight the hypocrisy of the ‘civilized’ western countries in general and the US which considers itself the custodian of the world in particular.
(With IANS inputs)