I stand solidly behind my friend, Eugene Melnyk (Owner of the NHL's Ottawa Senators) who's of Ukrainian heritage for his call to launch a boycott against Russia's FIFA World Cup in 2018 as well as sponsors.
He just sent out a press release today and has a comprehensive website www.BoycottPutinNow.com.
"Boycott Putin" calls for Anheuser-Busch InBev (Euronext: ABI; NYSE: BUD) to take a principled stand and not sponsor the 2018 soccer tournament in Russia, just awarded recently by FIFA.
The group hopes to mobile a grassroots movement against Russia over its annexation of Crimea and its backing of terrorists in Ukraine that sabotaged the recent election in vast portions of that country's eastern regions.
The campaign launched by United with Ukraine (Melnyk's website) includes a comprehensive website with includes an informative online video to help highlight the hypocrisy of FIFA and its major corporate partners. The video is available on the website in 12 different languages to help facilitate global awareness.
Ironically, it points out, the corporate mantra of Anheuser-Busch InBev is: "BringingPeopleTogetherforaBetterWorld".
That's rich and hopefully people will join in boycotting Russia's games by not buying tickets or sponsoring the tournament in 2018.
"To allow Russia to host the World Cup would fundamentally undermine the spirit of international sport and the stated core principles of every corporate sponsor who so far has chosen to align itself with such an irresponsible decision. We are askingFIFA'smajorpartnerstotakeafirmprincipledstand and demand FIFA immediately re-assign the 2018 World Cup to a moredeservingnation," reads the United with Ukraine press release.
Eugene Melnyk is a Canadian entrepreneur who owns the Ottawa hockey team and is a generous philanthropist to causes in Canada, Ukraine and elsewhere.
I fully endorse this action, and others, in support of Ukraine that is now fighting a made-in-Moscow insurrection. A reign of terror, like Hitler established, has befallen its two main industrial cities without support and without justification.
I would hope that the new Ukrainian President continues to send troops in to quell this illegal thuggery and impose martial law in the eastern and southern parts of the country to restore peace to its victimized people and voters there.
Such openly hostile, and internationally illegal, behavior by Russia and Putin should also result in severe boycotts and sanctions and -- frankly -- suspension of Russia from the United Nations' Security Council indefinitely.
Follow Diane Francis on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@dianefrancis1