Russian businesses in U.S. face threats, vandalism over invasion
Some Russian restaurants and businesses in the U.S. are facing threats, harassment and vandalism in the days since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine.
Driving the news: Russia House Restaurant and Lounge in Washington, D.C., was vandalized twice last weekend, resulting in smashed windows, a broken door and what is believed to be anti-Russian rhetoric posted on the walls, WUSA9 reports.
- "We’re getting some hate phone calls," owner Aaron McGovern told the Washington Post, adding that his restaurant "has nothing to do with" the invasion.
- "We are a U.S.-owned company trying to survive," McGovern said.
Pushkin Russian Restaurant in downtown San Diego is also receiving threats, and people are leaving 1-star reviews online saying the restaurant supports the invasion, owner Ike Gazaryan said, per ABC 7.
- The threats have progressively gotten worse as the invasion has gone on, with some threatening to blow up the restaurant, Gazaryan told ABC 7.
- Gazaryan said that claims that the restaurant backs the invasion are not true, adding that half of his workers are Ukrainian.
- "It bothers me mostly because it's the other way around," Gazaryan said. "I've donated money to the Ukrainian cause. I've given money to my employees to send to their parents in Ukraine."
Diana Deli in Columbus, Ohio, which is managed by two people — one is from Ukraine and the other is from Russia — has been getting threats since the invasion.
- "They were asking which car in the parking lot was ours ... asking if people stay the night implying that they were going to smash the windows and things," Andrew Wurth, who works at Diana Deli, told 10 WBNS.
- "We're just here to sell food," Wurth said.
Sveta in New York City is scrubbing its online presence — its website, social media and Yelp — of any mention of Russian food, Insider reports.
- The restaurant's owner on the first day of the invasion received an email with the subject line, "Hate Russians."
The bottom line: The Russian House of Austin changed its name to "The House" in solidarity with Ukraine, KXAN reports.
- "I’m doing this for people of Russia, because there are so many people who don’t want this war. I’m doing this for people of Austin, because they need to know our position and understand what we really are," owner Varda Monamour said.
Editor's note: This story originally published on March 3.