Starbucks Leaves Russia

By: Leila Rocha

Starbucks is the most popular coffee house chain in the world. As of 2021, there were over thirty three thousand Starbucks across the globe, and our small town, Benicia, happens to have three (not including the one inside Safeway). However, since the Russo-Ukrainian war started, sanctions are being pressed against Russia. To name a few, major companies such as Netflix, Coca-Cola, and McDonald’s have stopped business in Russia. Now, Starbucks is being added to this list. 

Starbucks has over a hundred outlets in Russia; but these locations are now temporarily closed. To further explain the closure, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson stated, ¨We condemn the unprovoked, unjust and horrific attacks on Ukraine by Russia, and our hearts go out to all those affects.¨ 

Prior to this announcement, Starbucks received backlash for not speaking out against the war Putin started. Twitter users such as Peter0073 promoted, “Boycott #CocaCola, #McDonalds, #Pepsi, #Starbucks, #BurgerKing and #KFC. McDonald’s has 847 stores in Russia. KFC opened its 1000th store in Russia last year. These Companies are ignoring #Putininvasion of #Ukraine.”

In contrast, other twitter users seem to disagree with these sanctions. User DecodingTrolls tweeted, “Two Russians supping [sipping] their last #Starbucks tell BBC: only advantage of sanctions is that people gonna pay attention about wots [what’s] happening in 🇺🇦. A lot of people don’t want to know or hear anything about it. Only explanation about why they’re being closed is the war….” In other words, they believe that pressing sanctions will not affect the deadly consequences of the war. 

Although understandable that people want these major companies to deplore Putin’s violence, it is also a sensitive topic. Therefore, some companies may choose to stay quiet, while others may choose to take as much action as they can. In this case, Starbucks has decided to take action and impose sanctions.

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