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Amway announcement to pause operations in Russia is really their way of throwing a tantrum for not being able to continue to peddle their soap and vitamins

March 17, 2022

On Tuesday, numerous local news agencies reported that Amway, like many of companies, was pulling out of Russia because of their invasion of Ukraine. 

MLive was one of the local news agencies that reported on the Ada-based company’s decision to no longer do business in Russia. MLive also linked to the actual statement that Amway put out, which is significantly different that what most news agencies are reporting.

Here is a link to the Amway announcement, but we are also including the text here below, in case the company decides to remove their announcement.

Amway is powered by people – especially the inspiring, entrepreneurial and caring employees and Amway Business Owners (ABOs) who live our values every day across the world.

Seeing the global Amway family step forward and care for those who have left Ukraine in search of safety and shelter, and those who have stayed behind, has once again shown the heart of Amway and the strength of the bonds we share. Our team members who remain in Ukraine are also donating our healthy food and beverage products, personal care items, and dietary supplements to people in harm’s way, and to local hospitals and charities.

The reality of our business is that we have friends, colleagues and Amway Business Owners in both countries who have worked together for years in harmony with a common purpose. However, the continuing war, along with the global legal and operational environment, makes it impossible to continue business as we have been in Russia, and so we are announcing the immediate suspension of product imports and will be pausing other operations as well.

Hope – along with Freedom, Family and Reward – is one of our four Founders’ Fundamentals. We have upheld these ideals for more than 60 years, including through very challenging times in different parts of the world. It is our sincere hope that peace will prevail, and that we can return to fully supporting operations and opportunity for all who are a part of the Amway family.

What is striking about this statement, although not surprising, is that Amway makes their announcement primarily about themselves, rather than taking a principled stance to no longer do business in Russia.

First, the opening paragraph, along with the fourth paragraph centers the ideology of Amway, never saying anything about Russia and Ukraine. In the entire statement, Amway includes their own name six different times, and only names Ukraine twice and Russia once. 

Second, when talking about Ukraine in the second paragraph Amway talks about how they are caring for those that left. The thousands of Ukrainian refugees are fleeing the violence brought about by Russia’s invasion and ongoing occupation. Amway then centers the fact that they are donating their own food and beverage products, making it all about them as opposed to the horrific plight of Ukrainian civilians. None of the language in that second paragraph conveys to realities nor the horror that Ukrainians are facing.

In the third paragraph, Russia is finally mentioned, but the Amway announcement doesn’t mention the invasion, nor the bombing, and nothing about the death of Ukrainians. The paragraph once again centers Amway business owners who apparently have been working in “harmony.” The statement then says:

However, the continuing war, along with the global legal and operational environment, makes it impossible to continue business as we have been in Russia, and so we are announcing the immediate suspension of product imports and will be pausing other operations as well.

In this sentence, Amway finally uses the term war, but then quickly makes it about not being able to do business there, which is why they are suspending “product imports” and “pausing other operations.” There is no mention of the international condemnation of the Russian invasion nor the position that the US government has taken. 

The fourth and final paragraph yet again centers the company, even taking the opportunity to promote their founding values. Amway concludes by timidly hoping that peace will prevail, not because it will stop the bombing and the killing by the Russian army in Ukraine, but so the company can, “can return to fully supporting operations and opportunity for all who are a part of the Amway family.” 

So, Amway does their best to avoid demonstrating any real solidarity with the Ukrainian people, nor do they empathize with the harsh realities that civilians are facing in Ukraine because of the Russian invasion. What Amway does do, is to constantly promote themselves and their capitalist values. In the end, the Amway corporation is not pausing operations because of human rights, they are only pausing operations because it would be an embarrassment to continue doing business in Russia. If Russia and Ukraine negotiate a peace settlement, you can bet that Amway will be back in Russia, attempting to create more little capitalists, regardless of the repressive political realities under the Putin regime.

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