Activists converged outside the Wiener Stadthalle arena in Vienna on Thursday, urging Raiffeisen Bank International‘s (RBI) board members to cease operations in Russia.

Organised by WeMove Europe petition, in collaboration with the B4Ukraine Coalition and BankTrack, the petition garnered over 50,000 signatures by April 4th, coinciding with the Annual General Meeting (AGM).

Raiffeisen Bank International AG, Austria’s largest foreign bank in Russia and a big asset finance bank in Europe, is under scrutiny for its substantial presence, responsible for a quarter of euro transfers and managing up to half of the money flows between Russia and the rest of the world.

In 2023, RBI recorded significant profits in Russia, amounting to 1.35 billion euros (£1.16 billion), nearly half of its global profits that year.

While several banks, including Société Générale, BNP Paribas, and Crédit Agricole, have exited Russia, Raiffeisen continues to operate, prompting criticism from protesters who accuse the bank of indirectly funding the Kremlin’s war efforts through tax payments.

“Moscow has been accused of war crimes, including attacks on hospitals and forced deportations of children. With our collective pressure, we aim to demonstrate that Europe is closely monitoring the situation and demands action. Together, we can compel Raiffeisen to halt its financial support to Putin’s war machine,” stated the protesters.

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B4Ukraine and BankTrack have called on Raiffeisen Bank’s Board to divest its Russian assets and follow the footsteps of other lenders in withdrawing from Russia promptly, without prolonging the conflict by leaving behind valuable assets that could be utilized to fund further aggression against Ukraine.

Raiffeisen postpones quitting Russia

Austria’s Raiffeisen explores options for Russian business

Raiffeisen Bank International under US’ lens over Russian exposure

Asset finance banks in Russia drafted into Kremlin’s war effort