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Moving People


  • BBC

Lego pulls out of Russia 'indefinitely'

Lego, the Danish toymaking giant, has said it will stop operating in Russia indefinitely due to "continued extensive disruption".

The firm stopped delivering products to Russia in March following the invasion of Ukraine, but its shops remained open as most rival retailers pulled out.

Lego said it would now end its partnership with Inventive Retail Group which runs 81 shops on Lego's behalf.

It did not mention Russia's invasion of Ukraine for pulling out of Russia.

A spokeswoman for Lego said: "When the Lego Group stopped shipments to Russia in early March, we also ceased all commercial activity and put almost all our employees on extended leave."

The company said it was cutting most of its Moscow-based team and has "provided 70 employees with financial packages to support them as they look for new opportunities".

Lego is one of a handful of Western brands that remained in Russia after other major companies shut their sites following the Kremlin's attack on Ukraine which was launched on 24 February.

Some companies sold their products through franchisees in Russia and had to unwind complex partnerships with third party firms. McDonald's announced in May that it would close its sites in Russia which were later sold to a local company. The restaurants were "de-arched" and rebranded "Tasty and that's it".

Unlike a number of companies who have condemned Russia, Lego has decided not to directly comment on the country's actions. In March, Lego said: "Our thoughts are with all the children and families suffering as a result of the war in Ukraine."

A few years ago, the Danish company provoked a backlash when it emerged that it refused to sell a bulk order of its plastic bricks to the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei.

Ai had used Lego to create portraits of dissident figures who had been jailed or exiled, such as Nelson Mandela, in the US and had planned a similar exhibition in Australia. However, he said Lego had told the museum in Melbourne its bricks could not be used for art containing "any political, religious, racist, obscene or defaming statements".

The decision was widely condemned and Lego ended up changing its policy.

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