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3 Mar 2023

The Insider

New evidence reveals Auchan was fully aware of destination of its goods supplied to Russian army

Special Op Shop 2. Why Auchan's management is lying about aid to Russian military, 3 March 2023

After an investigation by The Insider and Le Monde revealed how a Russian subsidiary of Auchan supplied goods to the Russian military, the French management of the Auchan chain published a response which denied any involvement in such supplies:

“Auchan does not provide any voluntary or active supply assistance to anyone other than Russian civilians. Auchan Retail does not conduct, support or finance any “charitable” collections for the Russian armed forces.”

The chain also claims that the goods mentioned in the article were ordered by the St. Petersburg City Council, and that “there was nothing in the goods ordered during that period that would suggest a particular end recipient.” Auchan asserted that it had no involvement with the locations where volunteers gathered supplies for the front across various regions of Russia; allegedly it was just a coincidence that those collection points happened to be situated within Auchan premises...

Although Auchan maintains that they were unaware of the end recipient of the supplies, their employees and managers themselves attached “humanitarian aid” labels to the packages on Auchan premises. Interestingly, the “aid” item list did not include any items for women or children but did include razors and cigarettes. Furthermore, at least two representatives of the companies involved in processing the aid for Auchan confirmed on tape, available to The Insider, that they knew the aid was destined for the military. Additionally, officials from the St. Petersburg Mayor's Office, such as Alexander Lyubimov, deputy chairman of the city's Social Policy Committee, openly stated that the aid was intended for the Ministry of Defense. Thus, it seems highly unlikely that Auchan's management, together with the St. Petersburg government, organized the collection of “humanitarian aid” exclusively consisting of goods for men two weeks into the war, without having any idea of the final destination...

On February 24, 2022, the same day as the full-scale invasion began, Ivan Martinovich, general director of Auchan Retail Russia, informed employees that Auchan would continue to operate in Russia, stating that “Auchan is business, not politics.” A few days later, on February 28, Governor Beglov of St. Petersburg ordered the city administration to collect humanitarian aid for the LNR, and then for “further territories as they are liberated.” Initially, the city administration worked with the Emergency Ministry to collect long-term storage products such as antiseptics and warm clothes, totaling 129 tons. However, they then shifted their focus to aiding the Defense Ministry and solicited help from loyal commercial organizations in collecting supplies for the military. It was at this point that Auchan became involved and supplied items such as cigarettes, lighters, canned stew, and men's clothing, including “Every Day” toothpaste, which can be traced from Auchan to the military...

Part of the following timelines

Ukraine: Global outrage over Russian invasion leads to sanctions, demands for businesses to divest

Russia: Auchan & Leroy Merlin allegedly supply Russian military fighting in Ukraine, new investigation shows; incl. co. statement