Cisco Systems and Nike have announced plans to leave Russia entirely, as the rate at which Western corporations are leaving has accelerated.
In the coming weeks, a new law might be enacted permitting Moscow to seize assets and apply criminal penalties against foreign corporations wanting to flee Russia due to the conflict in Ukraine. This has prompted several companies to hurry their exit.
Cisco, a communications equipment maker, has stated that it will suspend operations in Russia and Belarus.
In March, Cisco ceased all business operations, including sales and services, in Russia.
Nike said on March 3 that it will temporarily cease operations at all Nike-owned and -operated retail locations in Russia. It has now chosen to depart completely, it announced Friday.
Nike has said now that it will leave Russia three months after stopping operations in the country.
"What was a trickle is becoming a flood," said Paul Musgrave, a professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts, in reference to the newest wave of corporations announcing their departure.
In an email Friday, Cisco said it has now decided to commence an orderly wind-down of operation in Russia and Belarus.
This month, Cisco's competitor International Business Machines Corp. began winding down its operations in Russia, and Microsoft announced that it would make significant cuts to its Russian operations.
The withdrawal of leading technology companies such as Cisco, IBM, and Microsoft restricts the access of Russian enterprises and homes to vital equipment. They may be forced to rely on obsolete equipment and domestic substitutes.
Cisco has offered its few hundred employees in these nations migration options, the company said. The company did not identify the alternative nations that were offered to employees.
According to Musgrave, it may be difficult for companies leaving the market to return. "This creates potential for indigenous enterprises in particular markets, but even greater opportunities for brands from China and others to enter the market," he said.
Cisco and Nike are leaving Russia completely, joining McDonald's and Renault. In the next few weeks, more businesses are likely to leave in response to the new law.
The proposal, which could be enacted within weeks, permits Russia to appoint administrators over enterprises held by foreigners from "hostile" countries who choose to leave the country as the crisis with Ukraine weighs on its economy.
Adidas, a competitor of Nike, said in March that it was closing its Russian stores and stopping online sales.