Business software giant Oracle has suspended all operations in Russia, while rival SAP has announced it will pause all sales in the country following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
Oracle’s announcement on Twitter on Wednesday came about three hours after Ukraine’s minister of digital transformation tweeted at the two companies asking for support.
Oracle did not respond to requests for comment to elaborate on its tweet, which said the company “has already suspended all operations in the Russian Federation”.
SAP in a blog post on Tuesday called economic sanctions against Russia “an important mechanism in the efforts to restore peace”.
“We are stopping business in Russia aligned with sanctions and, in addition, pausing all sales of SAP services and products in Russia,” CEO Christian Klein wrote.
He said that in addition to an initial €1-million in humanitarian support toward Ukraine, SAP had “also offered to convert our office space at locations across Europe into warehousing and accommodation for refugees”.
Meanwhile, Spotify said on Wednesday it has closed its office in Russia indefinitely in response to what the audio streaming platform described as Moscow’s “unprovoked attack on Ukraine”.
Since July 2021, Russian legislation signed by President Vladimir Putin has obliged foreign social media companies with more than 500 000 daily users to open local offices or be subject to restrictions as severe as outright bans. Ahead of the March deadline, only a few companies, including Spotify, had complied.
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last week, which Moscow calls a “special operation”, Western governments have urged companies to push back on Putin in any way possible.
“Our first priority over the past week has been the safety of our employees and to ensure that Spotify continues to serve as an important source of global and regional news at a time when access to information is more important than ever,” Spotify said in a statement.
Spotify said it has reviewed thousands of pieces of content since the start of the war, and restricted the discoverability of shows owned and operated by Russian state-affiliated media.
Earlier this week, it also removed all content from state media RT and Sputnik from Spotify in the European Union, the US and other markets around the world, except for Russia, following similar steps by Meta Platforms’ Facebook and Twitter.
Sputnik on Wednesday said by e-mail that “any restrictions on members of the press are blatant censorship and the dirtiest example of freedom of speech violations”.
RT said earlier this week that tech companies removing it had failed to cite any issues with its coverage.
Spotify said it would match employee donations, two-to-one, to support local humanitarian efforts.
Netflix has, meanwhile, temporarily stopped all future projects and acquisitions in Russia as it assesses the impact of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, a source familiar with the matter said.
The streaming giant had four Russian-language series in production and post-production, including Zato, a detective drama.
Russia has been facing boycott in the film and TV industry. The Cannes film festival issued a statement on Tuesday saying it would ban official Russian delegations from its 2022 festival unless the Ukraine conflict ends.
Earlier this week, Netflix said that in the current circumstances it has no plans to add state-run channels to its Russian service, despite a regulation that would require it to distribute state-backed channels.
Russia is one of the 190 countries where Netflix is available. — Paresh Dave, Elizabeth Culliford, Sheila Dang, Dawn Chmielewski, Chavi Mehta and Eva Mathews, with Jeffrey Dastin, (c) 2022 Reuters