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Ukrainians hit out at Russians panic buying in Ikea while ‘there’s genocide in our country’

One Moscow store reportedly had a record number of visitors as shoppers rushed to buy furniture

Holly Bancroft
Friday 04 March 2022 16:31 GMT
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Russia: Shoppers Flock To IKEA Stores Nationwide As Swedish Brand Announces Closure

Russian shoppers have been ‘panic buying’ in Ikea after the furniture chain announced it would temporarily close all its stores and factories in Russia and Belarus.

Long queues formed outside an Ikea branch in St Petersburg, and shoppers were photographed cramming home wares into their carts in another outlet in Rostov-on-Don.

But Ukrainians were quick to condemn the stark contrast of people people buying cheap goods in Russia while their leader’s war was killing thousands in their home country.

One Twitter user, wrote: “This is the line to Ikea, which is closing tomorrow in Russia.

“They don’t care about us, they don’t care about their boys dying on our land. Just tell them that Ikea gives away meatballs if they protest, everyone will be on the streets!”

Another wrote: “There is genocide in my country and they are buying Ikea sharks”.

Journalist Hanna Liubakova, from Belarus, said: “Surely. The most important thing is a new chair when the leadership of your country launched a deadly war.”

People wait in a line to enter the IKEA store at the outskirts of St. Petersburg, Russia, on Thursday. (AP)

Kevin Rothrock, an editor at the Russian news outlet Meduza, shared a video of an Ikea store full on people on Thursday, writing: “Forget the run on the banks. Russians are making a Run On Ikea before it shutters nationwide tomorrow in the latest corporate withdrawal from the country.”

The closures will affect 15,000 workers and 17 outlets across Russia.

The Swedish furniture company is the latest in a swathe of western firms who are quitting the country.

One Ikea outlet in Tyoply Stan in Moscow saw a record number of visitors on Thursday, according to a report from the independent Russian news website Novaya Gazeta.

Employees warned shoppers over a speakerphone that they would have to wait in line for at least three hours before the store closed.

Russian people stay in line in Ikea hypermarket before the store closes in St. Petersburg, Russia. (EPA)

Ikea said in a statement: “The war has both a huge human impact and is resulting in serious disruptions to supply chain and trading conditions, which is why the company groups have decided to temporarily pause Ikea operations in Russia.”

Brand owner Inter Ikea and store owner Ingka Group said that they had “secured employment and income stability” for the workers directly impacted by the decisions.

The rush to buy flatpack furniture in Russia was also criticised by some Ukrainians who compared the number of people in the queues to the number of people at anti-Putin protests.

One shopper crams products into her trolley at the Ikea store in Rostov-on-Don, Russia. (REUTERS)

And politics professor at Kings College London Sam Greene highlighted the scenes in Ikea as an example of the growing de-globalisation of Russia.

He shared a video of Ikea queues, saying: “While Russia’s sanctions-induced economic spiral will hit everyone hard. It’s the middle class who may feel it worst.

“The lifestyle they have come to enjoy, which has insulated them from politics, is evaporating.”

People wait in a line to pay for her purchases at the Ikea store on the outskirts of Moscow. (AP)

Nike Inc also announced that they would be closing their Russian stores on Thursday, saying: “Given the rapidly evolving situation, and the increasing challenges of operating our business, Nike will be pausing operations in Russia.”

Apple has halted all its produce sales in Russia and Apple Pay and other services, such as Apple Maps, have been limited.

The technology giant said that it was “deeply concerned” about the Russian invasion and stands with those “suffering as a result of the violence”.

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