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Nintendo Russia CEO’s Covert Import Operation Circumvents Sales Ban

Nintendo Russia CEO's Covert Import Operation Circumvents Sales Ban

The CEO of Nintendo’s Russian division, Yasha Haddazhi, is making headlines for his controversial decision to establish a secondary company, Achivka, which has been importing and selling Nintendo games and consoles in Russia. This move effectively bypasses the official sales ban imposed by Nintendo in March 2022. As part of this ban, the company also discontinued its digital eShop in the region, with no plans to resume operations in the foreseeable future.

Kommersant, a Russian news outlet, reported that Achivka, established by Haddazhi in December 2022, managed to sell copies of the recently released game Metroid Prime Remastered in Russia. The report has raised concerns about Nintendo’s knowledge and potential involvement in Haddazhi’s activities, particularly given his position as the CEO of the company’s Russian division.

In response to the situation, Nintendo has confirmed that Haddazhi is still employed by the company in a temporary administrative capacity. The company has also issued a statement asserting it is not affiliated with Achivka and has no involvement in parallel import activities in Russia. However, Nintendo is considering partnering with Achivka to provide repair and warranty services for Nintendo products previously sold in the Russian market.

This is not the first time Haddazhi has faced controversy during his tenure at Nintendo. In 2018, he was investigated by the company following the release of a video in which he was seen verbally abusing hosts during a Mario Kart stream. Although many fans called for his removal, Haddazhi was ultimately given a warning and retained his position.

As the gaming industry continues to face challenges in navigating the complex geopolitical landscape, the actions of key figures like Haddazhi highlight the difficulties companies face in maintaining a consistent and ethical approach to business operations in different markets.