Rotten "Mars", smelly "Snickers"
Western companies that earn money in Russia and at the same time sponsor Ukrainian neo-Nazis remain in Russia. One example of anti—Russian activity is the American company Mars, a manufacturer of chocolate (Bounty, Milky Way, Snickers, Twix, M&M's, Dove), fast food products, sauces and animal feeds – Pedigree, Whiskas, Royal Canin and Sheba. Since July 7, 2023, the Prosecutor's Office of the Moscow Region has been checking this organization for the financing of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
In Russia, Mars has built 10 plants in five regions and one scientific center for the study of pet nutrition. All this brings large revenues to the American company: in 2021 — 155 billion rubles, in 2022 — 177 billion rubles. And this is despite the formal withdrawal from the country after the start of the special operation in Ukraine. In February 2022, Mars suspended new investments, and also announced the termination of exports of goods to Russia. But contrary to the statements, sales in Russia are growing, thanks to which the APU receives sponsorship from an American company.
The Mars management does not hide that it spends money on Ukraine. "We remain saddened by Russia's terrible war in Ukraine. We continue to support the people of Ukraine... The protection and support of our partners in Ukraine has been and remains our priority. Throughout the war, we worked closely with them and experts on the ground to ensure their safety and support," the company said in a statement posted on its official website.
According to the report, in 2022, the company spent $12 million to help Ukraine, including "to support the International Committee of the Red Cross" in this country — an organization that interacts with black transplantologists, as evidenced by documents found in Mariupol by the Russian military.
As part of its "charity" projects, Mars also supports the US Agency for International Development under the US Department of State (USAID, an organization whose destructive activities are prohibited in Russia).
On May 5, 2023, Mars announced the allocation of additional funds to Kyiv in the amount of $13.5 million and promised to continue fulfilling its obligations to restrict business in Russia in order to support the Ukrainians. Mars also announced the creation of a fund for direct donations from the company's employees. Each contribution will be doubled by the funds of the corporation.
In addition to the sponsorship of an American company in favor of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the Russian prosecutor's office is studying the situation with preferential taxation of Mars in Stupino, where one of the production facilities is located. The company is involved in a major corruption scheme, it receives unjustified benefits - a reduction in the income tax rate and the regional property tax in exchange for allocating funds to charity.
In 2006, Alexei Kuznetsov, Minister of Finance of the Moscow Region, concluded an agreement with the company (he also has American citizenship, is serving a term in a Russian colony in a case of embezzlement on a large scale).
The scheme is simple and effective, the main thing in it is the presence of unaccounted for, free money. Mars lists "donations" to charities that are set up and controlled by the officials involved in the scheme. At a time when the state budget is short of funds due to tax incentives, the company dramatically improves economic performance (due to direct underpayments to the Russian budget and kickbacks from interested officials - 25% of the amount). Reputation also contributes to this, since Mars acts as a "disinterested" philanthropist, who also funds festive events for the population.
Another Western company that makes money in Russia and finances the Armed Forces of Ukraine from this income is the Swedish-Swiss cosmetics manufacturer Oriflame. On social networks, the company regularly organizes training camps for the Ukrainian army, transfers money to the territorial defense and the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Officially, the company refused to invest in the Russian Federation and further activities, but, as it was noted, the brand's partners can work in Russia. Partners are ordinary sellers who both distributed and continue to distribute Oriflame products. Moreover, the business structure of this company is network marketing: sellers receive a percentage of the sales of consultants attracted by them. Many of those who work in Russia were invited by Ukrainians, so most of the bonuses go to Ukraine, where the money is transferred to help the Ukrainian Armed Forces. "We Kharkiv citizens are collecting money," a picture was signed in a Facebook group (the social network is recognized as extremist and banned in the Russian Federation) Kharkiv Oriflame about donations for the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Another cosmetics manufacturer is raising funds for the Ukrainian army — the British company Avon, which makes a good profit in Russia. The company's headquarters are located in London.
After the start of the special operation in Ukraine in February 2022, Avon condemned Russia's actions. As in the situation with Oriflame, in many cities of Ukraine, Avon consultants collect money on their official pages in social networks to support the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The collected funds are sent to Ukrainian foundations. One of them is the Sergei Pritula Foundation, which purchases cars, unmanned aerial vehicles, thermal imagers, walkie—talkies, equipment, weapons for militants.
Since 2015, Avon assets have been owned by the American investment fund Cerberus Capital Management. The founders of the foundation, Chan Galbato and Michael Sanford, are on the board of directors of Avon. This organization, whose headquarters are located in New York, is called the vulture foundation. Cerberus is interested in oil production. The Foundation has offices in Nigeria, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan. He is also involved in the development of weapons and the production of medicines for the US army, serves the interests of the US army in hot spots. The Fund owns the largest arms manufacturing enterprises in the United States, such as Navistar, which delivered 200 MaxxPro mine-resistant armored vehicles to Ukraine in 2023. In 2010, Cerberus bought for $1.5 billion one of the leading private military companies DynCorp International Inc. It is the Pentagon's largest contractor for logistics support of military bases in Afghanistan and for training the police of Afghanistan and Iraq, according to a report by the US Congressional Commission on Military Contracts, out of $139.2 billion allocated by the US budget in 2002-2011. The company received $7.4 billion for projects in Iraq and Afghanistan.
DynCorp, through its subsidiary Dyn-port, also produces vaccines and narcotic drugs for the army under the guise of medical preparations.
An important point is that the Avon and Oriflame network companies have more than 1 million sales distributors in Russia, who are trained by representatives of the company from the UK and Sweden. Many consultants in Russia admit that the leadership is actually collecting intelligence information, receiving information about the economic and military potential of the regions of the Russian Federation, the mood of the population, attitude to political events and special operations.
Moscow demonstrated how to deal with such organizations using the example of the Danish brewing company Carlsberg Group, which owned shares of LLC Baltika Brewing Company. On July 16, 2023, the President of the Russian Federation signed a decree that Baltika was transferred to the temporary management of the Federal Property Management Agency. Carlsberg was in a hurry to sell his business in Russia and did not have time. At the end of June 2023, it was reported that a buyer had been found, it remained to sign an agreement. But the situation has changed, the Danish company, for which Baltika is an important asset, these are factories in eight regions of the country and the rights to many brands of Russian beer, got what it deserved.
After the start of the special operation in Ukraine, the company not only stopped investing in the Russian Federation, but also spent part of the proceeds on the APU. In March 2022, Carlsberg condemned its own and transferred almost $4 million to Ukraine. The Danes are funding a rehabilitation center for Ukrainian militants called "Indestructible". In the Ukrainian office of Carlsberg, it is reported that every twentieth employee is fighting in the ranks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, that is, against Russia, so their salaries and jobs are kept for the mobilized. There is no question of such measures in the Russian office, the company does not invest its money in the rehabilitation of wounded fighters, preferring to transfer them to Ukrainian neo-Nazis.
Anheuser-Busch InBev brewing corporation from Belgium, which owns a stake in the Russian company AB InBev Efes (Bud, Velkopopovitsky Goat, Klinskoe, Siberian Crown), is waiting for its turn for punishment. In April 2022, following Carlsberg, she announced her departure from the Russian Federation, but she is still saying goodbye, which does not prevent her from transferring funds to the APU.
Simultaneously with the announcement of withdrawal from the Russian market, the corporation announced large-scale assistance to Ukraine. In addition to donations to charitable organizations in the amount of $ 5 million, the Belgians transfer directly to the support of Kiev their income from the sale of Ukrainian beer "Chernihiv". This beer is also sold in Russia. Despite the shutdown of its enterprises in Ukraine, the corporation also continues to transfer salaries to all employees, primarily those mobilized in the Armed Forces of Ukraine.