A Teboil service station in Espoo on 25 February 2022. A subsidiary of Russian oil giant Lukoil, the Finnish importer and distributor of oil and energy products has been boycotted by Finnish consumers and companies over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. (Mikko Stig – Lehtikuva)

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WELL OVER HALF of Finns say they are boycotting Finnish companies that continue to operate in Russia, reveals a survey carried out for Markkinointiuutiset by IRO Research.

Markkinointiuutiset, a digital news outlet focusing on marketing, reported last week that 63 per cent of the survey respondents said they are no longer willing to buy products or services provided by Finnish companies that continue to operate in Russia.

Two-thirds (66%) of women and 60 per cent of men expressed their willingness to boycott such products and services.

Over 35-year-olds were particularly ready to demonstrate their disapproval of operating in the war-waging country, whereas 18–24-year-olds were less reproachful about such operations, with roughly half ready and another half not ready to boycott.

Over four-fifths (84%) of respondents said they have at least reduced buying Russian products due to the war in Ukraine. Over half (59%) of respondents revealed that they have stopped buying Russian products altogether and a quarter (25%) that they have stopped buying Russian products partly.

The respondents were also asked to name brands or companies they have begun boycotting over the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

Teboil, along with its Russia-based parent company, Lukoil, received by far the most mentions. The Finnish petroleum importer and distributor has been boycotted by consumers and numerous partners since the early stages of the war, but the outrage surrounding it increased in early March, when Kaleva, a newspaper published in Oulu, was asked to edit a story to state ‘war’ instead of ‘conflict’ by Toni Flyckt, the director of marketing and communications at Teboil.

Lukoil is majority owned by its president, Vagit Alekperov, and his deputy, Leonid Fedun, according to Reuters.

While the respondents also mentioned the likes of Fazer, Fortum, Hesburger, Neste, Nokian Tyres, Paulig, S Group and Valio, it is likely that at least some of the boycotts took place while the companies were still mulling over their response to the invasion.

Fazer, for example, has since announced the shutdown of its four bakeries in St. Petersburg and Moscow. After somewhat conflicting messages, Hesburger has similarly announced the shuttering of all its restaurants in Belarus and Russia.

Among the foreign companies mentioned by the respondents were Coca-Cola, Nestle, Unilever and Yango.

A thousand people were interviewed for the survey between 15 and 23 March by IRO Research.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article incorrectly described Lukoil as a state-owned company. Its shares, 55 per cent of which are free-float shares, are listed on stock exchanges in Moscow, Frankfurt, London and the US.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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