- Bill Browder once ran Russia’s largest foreign investment fund — now he’s Putin’s “enemy.”
- In an interview with The New York Times, he said remaining in Russia is like doing “business in Nazi Germany.”
- He said all companies have a “moral obligation” to leave Russia, “no matter what the cost is.”
Bill Browder — an international investor who once ran the largest foreign investment fund in Russia and is described as “Putin’s enemy” — said companies remaining in Russia is the “equivalent of continuing to do business in Nazi Germany.”
“Every business has a moral obligation to get out of Russia, no matter what the cost is,” Browder told The New York Times in an interview published Saturday by DealBook. “I don’t think anyone should even be concerned about returning because everyone will be welcomed back in a post-Putin regime.”
He added that if Putin remains in power, companies should not “want to go back.”
Hundreds of companies have voluntarily cut ties with Russia following the invasion of Ukraine. However, many brands have continued their Russian operations, according to a Yale University database which has tracked and categorized 800 company responses.
Browder founded Hermitage Capital Management in 1996, which quickly became one of the best performing funds in the world. As CEO, Browder leveraged stakeholder activism to expose corruption among Russian oligarchs and their companies. The confrontational investment style created massive profit, as well as a long list of enemies.
Among his top enemies is Putin himself. Browder — who was declared a national security threat to Russia in 2005 and barred entry into the country — was specifically mentioned by Putin during the 2016 Mueller investigation. During negotiations, Putin made an offer that the US could travel to Russia for suspect interrogation if Russian law enforcement could interrogate Browder, as The New York Times reported in 2018.
Today, the former investor is a human rights activist with a focus on Kremlin politics.
You can read DealBook’s full interview with Browder on The New York Times.