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Motorcycle Industry Boycotts Russia

Russian Boycott Expands

Following the BMF news story on a boycott of Russian motorcycle exports on 11th March, comes news that more manufacturers are lining up to repudiate business with the country, in response to its invasion of Ukraine on 24th February. Meanwhile the EU has announced a blanket ban on all motorcycle exports over EUR 5000 to Russia.

The BMF reported that Harley-Davidson was the first manufacturer to pull out of Russia, swiftly followed by Polaris, owner of the Indian brand, and Honda, which has suspended shipments of cars as well as bikes.
MV Agusta CEO Timur Sardarov, who is himself Russian, weighed in, publicly criticising the Russian invasion in an open letter distributed via MV. “My family is shocked, all the people that I know are shocked, angry and feel betrayed,” he wrote. “Russians are a very proud nation and in our history no one has ever betrayed us more than this regime led by Putin.”

Now Yamaha, Ducati and BMW have also joined the boycott – Yamaha has also made a euro 1 million donation humanitarian aid. Honda too, has donated cash to aid the plight of Ukrainian civilians, over 700 of whom have been killed by Russian action, while over three million have fled the country.

The EU’s blanket ban, announced on 15th March, stops the export of all motorcycles worth over EUR 5000 to Russia, as well as sidecars, accessories and spare parts. The EU bike ban is part of a wider package of export bans which include energy, iron and steel and luxury goods. So will the UK, now not part of the EU, follow suit?

The Motorcycle Industry Association is in favour of a wider ban. Tony Campbell, MCIA CEO says: “The International Communities, both Political and Business have a moral obligation to place pressure on the Russian Regime to end the conflict in Ukraine before it escalates any further. Whilst this may cause harm to business, it is imperative every opportunity is taken to protect the democratic principles and freedoms we have all become accustomed to. Whilst MCIA as an organisation do not have any direct dealings with Russia, we support any of our members in their decisions, and further hope this growing pressure helps to bring an end to this unjustified invasion on Ukraine and its people”.

These announcements from some big names in motorcycling – plus household brands such as BP and Jaguar Land Rover, which have also stopped doing business in Russia – will put pressure on those who have not yet announced a ban.

As of 18th March, there was no word from Triumph, whose Moscow office is still listed on its website.

Jim Freeman – BMF Chair

Sporting bodies have also stepped up, with the FIM implementing an immediate ban on all Russian and Belarusian riders. It happened so quickly that MX GP rider Vsevolod Brylyakov was thrown out of the second round MX GP in Lombardia.

Britain’s ACU has also announced an immediate ban.

“The reliance on Russian oil and gas outweighs all else in the west. Until we stop depending on hydrocarbon imports from dodgy parts of the world, we will always be in thrall to any tin pot regime with barrels of oil and nuclear weapons.” Commented BMF Chair, Jim Freeman.

Words by Peter Henshaw

Top image of MX GP rider Vsevolod Brylyakov courtesy of