Amazon’s Response to the Russian Invasion of Ukraine
On March 8th, Amazon announced that it would be suspending the majority of its services in both Belarus and the Russian Federation, joining a long list of companies that have taken dramatic measures in light of the egregious invasion of Ukraine.
This suspension entails:
- Denial of retail product shipments to Russia and Belarus
- Rejection of new Russia and Belarus-based AWS customers
- Rejection of new Russia and Belarus-based third-party sellers
- Loss of access to Prime Video in Russia
- Rejection of orders made through the MMO video game New World
On March 22nd, Amazon converted a Slovakian warehouse into a humanitarian aid distribution center in only 10 days. This new hub provides critical supplies to Ukrainian refugees, millions of which have already fled their homeland for safety in other countries.
Later, on March 28th, Amazon also announced that they have been providing AWS technology to non-profit, government, and corporate entities to help streamline processing for refugees seeking humanitarian aid.
Even before the outbreak of war in Eastern Europe, Amazon did not run a digital marketplace in the Russian Federation. Instead, consumers there relied on an elaborate network of alternative shipping sites.
Potential customers located in the Russian Federation have to order items that are only available under the International Shopping category, of the U.S. store. Then, working with a third-party, Russians could have the products delivered to the carrier, who would then ship them internationally. Once it’s in the hands of the notorious Russian Post or Pochta Rossii (whose ‘unofficial’ slogan translates to “Not all is lost, yet”), delivery times can vary widely, but packages will arrive… probably.
Whether or not these new sanctions will affect this flourishing side market remains to be seen. The hit to new AWS customers and Russian producers (not to mention all those Prime Video subscribers) will undoubtedly affect the Russian economy in the near to long term.
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