2022 NOBEL PEACE PRIZE WINNER APPEARS ON RED BULL F1 HQ TO CHALLENGE VERSTAPPEN OVER UKRAINE
23rd November 2022: Oleksandra Matviichuk has appeared on the Red Bull Formula 1 racing headquarters outside London to make a personal appeal to world champion driver Max Verstappen. Matviichuk - director of Ukraine’s Centre for Civil Liberties, winner of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize - wants Verstappen to use his influence to make Red Bull pull out of Russia.
Unlike most global brands, Red Bull has refused to cut ties with Putin’s Russia and the energy drink is still on sale in supermarkets across the country. Last night Matviichuk’s face appeared on the side of the company’s F1 HQ in a 50 m2 projected message, with the human rights defender delivering a two-minute appeal to Verstappen of the Red Bull racing team.
“This is a message to Max Verstappen and all Red Bull athletes,” says Kyiv resident Matviichuk in the projected film. “I know that driving a Formula 1 racing car is dangerous, but for millions of people it’s very dangerous just to be in Ukraine. I am in Kyiv and we, like other Ukrainian cities, are constantly being shelled by Russian rockets.”
She goes on:
“Max, you are a leading brand ambassador of Red Bull. Can you please ask them, why is Red Bull still on sale in Russia while so many global brands have pulled out? Why do Red Bull still continue to help Russia to finance this war? I ask for your support to convince Red Bull to stop their business in Russia.”
Red Bull is given a failing ‘D’ grade by the respected Yale School of Management, which ranks corporations for their Russia business policy. The drinks company says it has only suspended marketing and new investments in Russia, meaning unlike many of its competitors it continues to sell its products there.
Matviichuk’s message to Vertstappen was projected onto the company’s F1 headquarters in Milton Keynes, UK, by the Ukraine Solidarity Project (USP) - a network of European and Ukrainian activists exposing global brands for regressive policies on Putin’s Russia. Companies that continue to trade in Russia pay taxes to the Kremlin and threaten global solidarity in the face of Putin’s aggression.
The campaigners have built a web tool that allows the global public to message the 670 Red Bull athletes with social media accounts, asking them to push the company to pull out of Russia (see redbullgivesputinwings.com).
Nataliia Popovych, co-founder of Resilient Ukraine civil society organisation and member of the steering committee of B4Ukraine, a coalition campaigning for global brands to pull out of Russia, said:
“Red Bull is sticking with Putin’s regime while so many other companies have pulled out. That means they’re willingly paying taxes in Russia and signaling to the world that they’re comfortable with the Kremlin's atrocities in Ukraine. My family and team in Ukraine are under attack every day, civilians are being killed, there are torture chambers being discovered in liberated areas, but still you can buy Red Bull in Russia. We Ukrainians are appealing to Red Bull athletes like Max Verstappen to tell the company to pull out now.”