The Chairs of Czech international lottery operator Allwyn and its parent company, investment firm KKCG, have joined wider industry and global condemnation of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Penning an open letter this morning, the two firms described Vladimir Putin’s military action against his western neighbour as a ‘senseless act of aggression’, whilst also decrying the ‘barbarism’ of the President’s administration.
In response to the growing humanitarian and refugee crisis mounting in Eastern Europe as the conflict intensified over the past week, one of the group’s offices in Prague has been converted into a safe centre.
Additionally, the companies – owned by Czech billionaire Karel Komárek – have organised trucks carrying durable food, mattresses, sleeping bags, camping mats, hygiene products, and other supplies via the Komárek Family Foundation and its partner in Lyiv.
Lastly, as a supporter of Prague international music festival Dvořákova Praha, the company has pushed for the exclusion of ‘Kremlin-linked musicians’ such as composer and ‘known supporter of Putin’ Valerije Gergiev from performing.
“We recognise that these are only small acts in comparison to the thousands of brave Ukrainians who have taken up arms to defend their homeland and freedoms,” the letter concluded.
“However, we believe it’s the responsibility of anyone who values free and democratic values to play their part, no matter how big or small. It is critical that we all speak out.”
Allwyn – previously known as SAZKA until recently rebranding as Allwyn, initially its UK-facing brand name – and KKCG have tried their Czech roots as a key motivation for the recent decisions, in particular the country’s history of Soviet Union-backed communist regimes – regimes which many of the firm’s employees were born and/or grew up under.
The group’s actions are indicative of wider commendation of Russian military actions in both the gaming industry and the wider international community – Kyiv-founded firm Parimatch and Polish sports data and technology company Statscore recently announced an end to their Russian operations in protest, whilst bet365 has also closed its accounts in the country.
Meanwhile, earlier this week the Gaming Industry for Ukraine initiative set out to raise £250,000 to support Choose Love’s Ukraine Crisis Fundraiser, which aims to provide support to refugees fleeing the conflict.
On the ground in Ukraine, Russian forces have secured the city of Kherson in the south of the country and reportedly Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, whilst Moscow has acknowledged the need to establish a humanitarian corridor.