If you have ever been abroad and talked to some "local", you will surely have heard the phrase "Ah, Italy...pizza, pasta and Berlusconi!". You may or may not like it, but that's how it is. Well, if at least two of these three things we could be proud of it, now even this certainty is cracking as the most famous brand among Italian pasta producers, Barilla firmly maintains its production within the Russian aggressor state.
Although the war continues, all is silent on the Barilla front
After the initial silence following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, while other large business groups were already starting to pack their bags from Russia, Barilla instead confirmed in a Press release its clear desire to remain active in its factory near Moscow, while “constantly monitoring the situation”. That is, for now we pretend to be dead so as not to get hurt, then we'll see.
The "then we'll see", however, has never been seen, given that the situation over the course of all these months has not led to a solution to the conflict, but to a worsening of Russian attacks on Ukrainian soil, resulting in military and civilian carnage, destruction of energy facilities that forced Ukrainians into a cold and dark winter, and an untold number of war crimes piling up on the desk of the ICC prosecutor.
Despite all this evidence, Barilla has not said a word on the subject.
The Italian company is obviously not the only one to have made this choice, we have already highlighted it here big brands that have decided to stay in Russia and are declared sponsors of the war, despite pressure from organizations such as B4Ukraine e Leave Russia.
Barilla's press release
The press release from Barilla announcing the suspension of investments in Russia, while maintaining the production of pasta, goes hand in hand with the press release from Ferrero (for the few who don't know it yet, the Nutella manufacturer) in which it was said "we are sorry for what is happening in Ukraine, let's reduce investments, but let's keep production active in Moscow".
Also in their statement of 6 September 2022, as in the case of Ferrero (it seems like a photocopy situation), a particular emphasis is placed on their donation to Ukraine at the beginning of the conflict, a few tons of pasta and 1 million euros in donation to various charitable organizations. Subsequently the cosmic nothing on the subject.
What does it mean to keep Barilla production in Russia
Maintaining local production and sales in Russia for a giant of the caliber of Barilla, while declaring that it does not profit from activities on Russian soil, in any case means pay a significant amount in taxes to the Kremlin. These rubles almost immediately turn into lethal weapons deployed on the front lines of Ukraine against army defenders and civilians. It doesn't matter that Barilla doesn't benefit from it, who in this case is certainly benefiting from it is the international criminal Putin.
Also ensure jobs and salaries for employees of their Russian plant means doing your part to nullify the effects of Western sanctions against the Kremlin regime, supporting the Russian economy unlike other big brands that have decided with an ethical choice to withdraw and sell their Russian assets.
Barilla products (there are also Mulino Bianco snacks)
Barilla doesn't just produce pasta, which is obviously its strong point. Still under the Barilla brand, ready sauces, flours and cereals are produced and sold, but that's not all.
Barilla Group owns other famous brands, such as Mulino Bianco, pavesi e Pan di Stelle. Always instead for the pasta sector we remember the brand voiello, widespread in our supermarkets.
What can we consumers do?
Given that if Barilla has not taken a clear pro-Ukraine position in recent months, it is unlikely that tomorrow it will decide to follow the virtuous examples of other multinationals and definitively leave Russia as a market for the sale and production of its products. The choice falls on us consumers, the only actors in this drama capable of making ethical and sustainable choices, without continuing to arm the Kremlin's army.