Nintendo Russia CEO runs import company to circumvent official sales ban – report

UPDATE 5.30pm UK: Nintendo released Eurogamer a detailed statement that serves as an update on the company’s operations in Russia.

In short, Nintendo says it has largely ceased operations in Russia, except for necessary “legal, contractual and administrative requirements”. The Moscow-based employees have had their “contract terminated by mutual agreement”, although the status of his local boss Yasha Haddazhi is not particularly clear.

Indeed, Nintendo confirms here that it is considering Achivka, Haddazhi’s new company, as a business partner – although its suggestion is that it is “to honor previous commitments” to customers and provide a “repair and warranty service” for existing Nintendo products already sold in the country.

Regarding Achivka’s import of new Nintendo products, such as the recently released Metroid Prime Remastered, Nintendo states that it is “aware” of companies that do so, but is “not affiliated with such companies and has no involvement in parallel import activities in Russia”. “.

This is a seemingly contradictory statement, as Nintendo acknowledges that it is potentially looking to work with Achivka, but also claims that it has no affiliation with companies that import its products, as Achivka appears to do. Eurogamer has reached out to Nintendo to ask for more details about its relationship with Acivka, and will update if we receive a response.

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Nintendo’s statement on this can be found below in full:

“In early 2022, Nintendo suspended the shipment of products to Russia and placed the Nintendo eShop into maintenance following the suspension of Russian ruble transactions by the payment provider. Following this, and due to the economic outlook, Nintendo of Europe has decided to liquidate the operations of its Russian subsidiary.

“We will maintain a minimal presence in Russia to complete the liquidation process and to meet legal, contractual and administrative requirements. Their efforts.

“We continue to seek solutions to honor previous commitments to our customers in the Russian market. With this in mind and in the spirit of transparency, we are in advanced discussions with potential repair and warranty service providers for Nintendo products. which had already been sold in the Russian market, LLC Achivka being one such potential supplier.

“We know that several companies in Russia operate parallel imports of goods, including Nintendo products. Nintendo is not affiliated with these companies and is not involved in parallel import activities in Russia.

“In case our Russian customers have any questions regarding our products or services, we continue to encourage them to contact customer service.”

The controversial boss of Nintendo’s Russian division has reportedly set up a secondary company to import and sell Nintendo games, circumventing the Super Mario maker’s official sales ban in Russia.

Nintendo officially halted product shipments to Russia in March 2022 and said its decision would remain in place for the “foreseeable future”. Nintendo also shut down its digital eShop in the region, citing “the suspension of ruble transactions by the payment provider”.

Now, a report from Russian outlet Kommersant has highlighted the recent sale of Metroid Prime Remastered in Russia by a company named Achivka, which was set up by Nintendo Russia boss Yasha Haddazhi to import games and consoles. Nintendo in Russian game stores.

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The report states that Achivka was founded by Haddazji in December 2022 and he is the majority owner. Another Nintendo Russia employee, corporate events manager Ksenia Kachalova, is listed as a minority owner. Achivka’s listed legal address is also the same as Nintendo’s Russian headquarters.

Although it is legal in Russia for anyone to import goods without manufacturer approval, the report raises questions about Nintendo’s involvement with Achivka and the extent to which it knew it was importing Nintendo products. in Russia and that it was headed by the CEO of its local subsidiary. .

Nintendo did not respond to a request for comment from Kommersant. Eurogamer has contacted Nintendo itself for more information and to ask if Nintendo thinks it’s appropriate for its most senior Russian employee to be involved.

This isn’t the first time Nintendo’s controversial Russian boss has made headlines. In 2018, Nintendo confirmed to Eurogamer that it was investigating Haddaji’s conduct after footage of him verbally abusing the hosts of a Mario Kart stream was widely shared online.

Russian Nintendo fans called for Haddaji to be removed, though the company eventually let Haddaji go with a slap on the wrist.

“Going forward, Nintendo of Europe will provide more resources to Nintendo Russia to support its efforts to bring Nintendo products and experiences to Russian gamers,” Nintendo said in a 2019 statement, after completing its investigation.

“We want to ensure that the conduct of all of our employees is consistent with Nintendo’s corporate values, and we remain committed to upholding those standards in the future.”

Nintendo is among a long list of other video game companies that have given up on Russia for now, including Microsoft, PlayStation, EA, CD Projekt, Activision Blizzard, Ubisoft, and Take-Two.

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