Koch Industries stays in Russia, says exit would ‘do more harm than good’

Koch Industries plans to maintain operations in Russia, breaking with other companies that hastily left the country after the Kremlin’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, the company confirmed this week.

The Kansas-based firm of GOP mega-donor Charles Koch said it will continue to operate two industrial glass factories in Russia, owned by its subsidiary Guardian Industries.

Dave Robertson, COO of Koch Industries, defended the firm’s decision in a lengthy statement – arguing that Russia would nationalize both facilities if it left the company.

“While Guardian’s business in Russia is a very small part of Koch, we will not be disposing of our employees there or handing over these manufacturing facilities to the Russian government for them to operate and benefit from,” Robertson said. “That would just put our employees there at greater risk and do more harm than good.”

According to the executive, Koch has “no other tangible assets” in Russia and only 15 employees in the country outside of Guardian’s operations. Guardian employs around 600 people in the two glass factories.

Chef COO Dave Robertson
Dave Robertson, COO of Koch, argued leaving Russia would allow the Kremlin to take control of the factories.
Courtesy of Koch Industries

Roberson said Koch has “complied with all applicable sanctions, laws and regulations governing our relationships and transactions in all countries in which we operate.

“We will continue to monitor the situation closely and will update you if necessary,” he added.

Big US corporations like Apple and McDonald’s head a growing list of companies that have restricted their operations in Russia or severed ties with the country altogether after the invasion.

Most companies have cited increasing sanctions against Russia that have made it difficult to continue doing business or moral concerns surrounding Russia’s increasingly brutal invasion.

Guardian Industries plant
Guardian Industries has two glass factories in Russia.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and other senior Ukrainian officials have actively pressured Western companies to sever ties with Russia.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) have criticized Koch for choosing to remain active in the country. Charles Koch and his late brother David have long angered Democrats by funding right-wing causes and politicians.

“While the world’s democracies are making enormous sacrifices to punish Russia for Putin’s illegal and vicious invasion of Ukraine, Koch Industries continues to benefit from Putin’s regime,” the lawmaker said said in a statement.

“It’s time Koch Industries put the values ​​of democracy ahead of its own profits. We call on Koch Industries to stop its activities in Russia immediately,” they added.

More than 400 companies around the world have left Russia since the invasion began. according to a compiled list by Professor Jeffrey Sonnenfeld and researchers at Yale University. Koch Industries was one of 30 companies believed to be “digging in” or defying calls to exit. Koch Industries stays in Russia, says exit would ‘do more harm than good’


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