Banning software sales to Russia a ‘case of good and evil:’ Appian CEO

Banning software sales to Russia a ‘case of good and evil:’ Appian CEO

The Russian economy continues to be dealt major blows by global sanctions, and the first Russian default in a century now looms. Over the past few months since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, a long list of companies has pledged to scale back or halt business in the country.

Western companies leaving Russia have restricted Russians’ access to certain consumer goods, natural resources, financial services, and technology. However, Appian (APPN) CEO Matt Calkins says it’s time to now ban software sales to the country as well.

“Are we going to sell the world’s best technology to a regime that is repressing and causing damage? I don’t think we should,” Calkins told Yahoo Finance Live. “I think that those who want business to do good should start here. This is an obvious case of good and evil. And businesses should stop working with Russia if they want to make a statement.”

UKRAINE – 2021/02/01: In this photo illustration an Appian Corporation logo is seen displayed on a smartphone screen. (Photo Illustration by Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Amazon Web Services (AMZN), Microsoft (MSFT), and Apple (AAPL) are just a few of the names in software that have already chosen to scale back their Russian operations in some way. However, Calkins believes that more needs to be done in order for American companies to remain on what he feels is the right side of history.

“Appian is a public software company that has chosen never to do business with Putin’s Russia,” he added. “And we are asking now that other technology companies, other public tech firms, make the same commitment and permanently stop doing business inside Russia. Right now, there’s a lot of great gestures being made, and they’re a start.”

Calkins joined Yahoo Finance Live to discuss why he’s calling for a ban on software sales to Russia amid the country’s war with Ukraine. Appian Corporation is a Virginia-based software development company part of the Dulles Technology Corridor specializing in cloud computing and enterprise software.

Companies fighting for Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin has already signed into law a decree that will “ban state institutions from using foreign software in critical infrastructure” beginning on Jan. 1, 2025, according to Reuters reporting. Putin looks to shed Russia’s reliance on foreign software platforms amid the backlash the country has faced from global corporations.

As such, Calkins said that banning software sales outright to Russia would not be a significant loss for Western tech companies.

“For many technology companies, this is not such a large sacrifice,” he said. “Russia is not one of the world’s 10 largest economies, and it’s not generally a large consumer of software. They buy some — don’t get me wrong — but they’re not a major consumer. And therefore, this is a decision that shouldn’t be too painful for software companies to make.”

He also believes that such actions will set a precedent for more activist business to be pursued moving forward. Calkins pointed to his work in creating, a website that tracks the world’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in conjunction with the Renew Democracy Initiative. With this tool, he aims to “keep these countries honest” in their disincentivization of Russian aggression by highlighting which sanctions are making a material difference, and which ones are not.

Thomas Hum is a writer at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @thomashumTV

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