Russia prepares to seize exiting Western firms

STORY: The golden arches are coming down in Russia as McDonald’s heads for the exit.

It’s just one of countless western firms that have decided to quit the country.

That’s angered Moscow, which now has a response in the works.

Lawmakers are discussing a move to take control of the local businesses of western firms that leave.

The new law will give Russia sweeping powers.

A state administrator would be allowed to sell confiscated businesses, and former owners would be barred from operating in Russia.

The bill cites a wide range of criteria for intervention, including where a company is a major employer.

Now western firms that still have operations in Russia are trying to figure out what it means for them.

That includes furniture giant IKEA, which has paused operations in the country.

Other firms still working there include Burger King, Italian bank UniCredit, and Austrian lender Raiffeisen.

The bill has already passed the lower house of parliament, and now faces two more readings and an upper house review.

It could then be signed into law by President Vladimir Putin within weeks.

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