Exile Operating from Riga, Latvia The Insider– publication has published statement about the operations of the iconic Finnish paint company Tikkurila in Russia. Insider’s was the first in Finland to tell about the report Evening newspaper.
According to the report, despite the war of aggression in Russia, Tikkurila would have continued advertising campaigns in Russia, sponsored events in the interior design and construction industry, and exported raw materials subject to sanctions to Russia. In addition to this, the company is investing in the paint line and is hiring more people for its operations in Russia.
So this happened despite the fact that the main owner of Tikkurila (now PPG Tikkurila), the American PPG, has said that it supports Ukraine and that it will freeze its operations in Russia. As recently as two years ago in November, PPG announcedthat it will stop new investments in Russia, stop selling to entities owned by the Russian state and, in general, intends to maintain only enough business in Russia to produce enough rubles to pay its Russian employees.
CEO of Tikkurila Finland Meri Vainikan according to him, the statement is not true in any respect, and he also says that he does The Insider “as information influence and propaganda”. According to Vainika, in the report Tikkurila is blamed for things done by the Russian subsidiary, over which the Finnish management currently has no control.
An explanation according to Tikkurila’s Russian subsidiary, for example, in August 2022, it brought 1,800 kilos to Russia EU sanctions silicone defoamer from Germany. EU sanctions prohibit the export of silicone to Russia.
Anti-foaming silicones can be used, for example, in oil refining. In addition, Tikkurila is Insider’s submitted to the Eurasian Customs Union formed by the former Soviet countries an import declaration for the new paint line that it intends to import from Spain.
Tikkurila sells Insider’s according to research, their paints to contractors who operate directly in Russian-occupied areas subject to EU sanctions. These include, for example, contracting at the occupied Simferopol airport in Crimea, at the logistics center of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs in Sevastopol, and contracting directly for the administration of the Russian president.
Tikkurila is also filling at least seven vacancies in Russia. In the job application proud of how “many significant cultural, sports, production and commercial sites in Russia have been painted with Tikkurila products”: “For example, the Winter Palace and the Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg, the Kazan Kremlin, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs building in Moscow, and many others. The list of objects painted with Tikkurila products is constantly being updated.”
Tikkurila Finnish CEO Vainikka dismisses the report as disinformation. In his opinion, the Finnish media swallows it unnecessarily.
According to Vainika, the anti-sanctions silicone export to Russia reported by Insider took place already in July 2022, and not in August, when, according to him, the EU sanctions came into effect.
“Tikkurila has always acted strictly in compliance with the sanctions,” says Vainikka.
In other cases, according to Vainika, it is a question of Tikkurila’s Russian subsidiary having acted on its own accord and disregarding the bans given by Finland or the USA.
For example, to acquire new paint lines, the Russian subsidiary should ask for permission, but until Finland there has been no information whether this has been done. If there had been, the matter would not have progressed because, according to Vainikkala, the current EU sanctions prevent EU citizens from managing Russian companies.
Therefore, he considers that he cannot influence Tikkurila’s Russian subsidiary. In addition, he says that Tikkurila’s parent company PPG has forbidden the Russian subsidiary from using Tikkurila’s brand or manufacturing methods any more, but these prohibitions have been referred to in Russia with a glove.
Based on Vainika’s explanation, the Russian subsidiary’s continued use of the Tikkurila trademark is the reason why Tikkurila’s logo and stands were so prominently displayed at, for example, Russia’s largest interior design event, City Build Russia, at least last September, as well as at the Moscow Interior and Design Week in October. In addition, Tikkurila’s logo has been prominently featured in an advertising campaign together Sanctioned by the EU, USA and UK with Tinkoff Bank. This advertising collaboration was also discovered by The Insider.
In the background of Tinkoff bank can be found Russia’s richest oligarch and owner of the Harjavalta nickel factory by Vladimir Potan.
Tikkurila has been operating in Russia for a long time and was, at least before the start of Putin’s military operations, number one in the Russian paint market. CEO of PPG, which bought Tikkurila Michael McGarry said Talouselämän in the interview 2021 that the company’s strong position in Russia was the main reason for the acquisition of Tikkurila.
Vainikka says that PPG has been trying to sell Tikkurila’s operations in Russia for 18 months. The industrial paint business has already been sold, but the sale of the construction and commercial painting businesses has been running unsuccessfully for “too long” in the Moscow administration.
The company was founded in 1862, and it was named after the Tikkurila district in Vantaa.
The Insider is generally considered a reliable publication classified by the Russian state as an agent of a foreign power.
It has been involved in numerous investigations that have revealed abuses by Putin’s administration. For example, they dug up evidence that showed one Sergei and Yulia Skripal one of the poisoners was an agent of the Russian intelligence service.