Russia threatens to nationalize Microsoft and other western companies

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What you need to know

  • Russia threatened to seize assets or nationalize companies that have stopped operations in the country.
  • Microsoft, Apple, IBM, and McDonald's are among the companies that could be affected by Russia's seizure or nationalization plans.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin shared support for having "external management" over foreign companies in the country.
  • The White House press secretary issued a response, stating "any lawless decision by Russia to seize the assets of these companies will ultimately result in even more economic pain for Russia."

Russia may nationalize or seize the assets of a long list of companies that have stopped operations in the country. Microsoft, Apple, and IBM are among the tech giants that could be affected by the move. Russia has also threatened companies in other industries, including McDonald's, Coca-Cola, BP, Shell, and Goldman Sachs, according to a report by CNN.

Microsoft stopped new sales in Russia earlier this month and is one of many tech giants to do so. Apple and IBM have stopped operations in Russia as a result of the ongoing war in Ukraine. Non-tech companies, including McDonald's and IKEA, also halted operations in Russia.

A video posted by the Kremlin that was broadcast on state media outlines a potential response by the Russian government.

"We need to act decisively with those [companies] who are going to close their production," said Putin. "It is necessary, then ... to introduce external management and then transfer these enterprises to those who want to work."

The legislation that would put these plans into action has already been drafted, according to Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin.

"If foreign owners close the company unreasonably, then in such cases the government proposes to introduce external administration. Depending on the decision of the owner, it will determine the future fate of the enterprise," added the Prime Minister.

In total, 59 companies could be nationalized, according to the Russian newspaper Izvestiya. The Russian state news agency TASS later cited those reports.

The White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, issued a statement in response to reports of Russia's potential plans.

On Thursday, March 10, 2022, Russia issued a ban on shipping certain goods out of the country that had previously been imported. The ban prevents the transfer of "technological, telecommunications, medical equipment, vehicles, agricultural machinery, electrical equipment" and "railway cars and locomotives, containers, turbines, metal and stone processing machines, monitors, projectors, consoles and panels," according to Russia's government website.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at