How do tobacco companies operating in Russia kill Ukrainians? Four international tobacco giants — Imperial Tobacco, JTI, BAT, and Philip Morris — financed 12.6% of Russia’s military budget — VoxUkraine
According to the German media Focus Online, every two days Russia spends around $1 billion on the war against Ukraine. Where does this money come from? From the Russian state budget which in turn gets revenues from taxation.
Tobacco companies are major taxpayers in each country because, along with other taxes, such as income tax or personal income tax, the state also receives excise tax from each pack sold, write analysts of VoxUkraine. Therefore, the share of taxes in the price of tobacco products is higher than for other products.
In 2020 (the latest data available for all the companies), the four international tobacco giants — Imperial Tobacco, Japan Tobacco International, British American Tobacco, and Philip Morris — paid $7.8 billion into the Russian budget, i.e., 12.6% of Russia’s entire military budget ($61.7 billion) for the same year. This amount of money would buy Russia 22% of its aircraft, or 51% of its helicopters, or 57% of its APV, or 59% of its tanks.
It goes without saying that taxes end up in a ‘single pot,’ and it is impossible to determine what was purchased with taxes paid by this or that company. But even if they do not buy new ammunition using tax earnings, they might still finance the production of ‘Tornadoes’ or ‘Grads’ or pay the military or PMCs, committing atrocities in Ukraine. After all, the taxes go to pay salaries, pensions, and social benefits to Russian citizens silently supporting the war against Ukraine.