Any military conflict is first and foremost a human disaster. Avast has employees in both Ukraine and Russia and is actively working to protect and sustain them as a priority. We continue to pay their full salaries and have aided the temporary relocation, at their request, of some families who were in high risk areas. We’ve been in constant communication with the affected employees, and the challenges and very real dangers they face are an ongoing source of deep concern.
Avast was founded in 1988 in the former Czechoslovakia under the Soviet satellite regime. In 1989, we celebrated our freedom as we were incorporated as a business entity in the newly free Czechoslovakia and were able to sell our antivirus program commercially. Our history, our culture and experiences, and our technology vision inform both our mission and our values as a company.
As a company, we deeply believe in the critical importance of protecting digital freedom and ensuring everyone’s right to access the internet safely and privately. This purpose drives us to improve the internet, increase opportunities, and empower all online citizens through a fairer, more equitable digital world. We are horrified at Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, where the lives and livelihoods of innocent people are at severe risk, and where all freedoms have come under attack.
With immediate effect, we have withdrawn the availability of all of our products from Russia and Belarus and suspended all marketing and sales operations in these countries. We do not take this decision lightly; we’ve offered our products in Russia for nearly 20 years and users in this country are an important part of our global community.
We have always been passionately committed to protecting everyday internet citizens above the fray of politics, however, we refuse to contribute to or profit from war. Our business, which generates in the region of $2.5m in sales tax each year to the Russian government alone, will not be party to Russia’s actions in any way. Therefore, suspending our business in Russia and Belarus, is the right thing to do as we condemn the actions of Russia in Ukraine.
In Ukraine, we are maintaining and bolstering our product offerings. We are giving paying users an extension on their licenses for free. Users of our freemium products are now also able to get our premium products for free. And our existing free products are still available to those who want them without disruption. With disinformation rife, supporting Ukrainians’ access to a secure, unrestricted internet connection to obtain and share accurate information about the conflict is critically important.
Support for humanitarian efforts
To aid the important relief work that has mobilized over the last two weeks, Avast is donating over $800k to humanitarian organizations including People in Need through our employee donation matching program and philanthropic arm, the Avast Foundation. I am incredibly proud of our employees who have been passionate about contributing to these efforts and volunteering to support local relief efforts on the ground in their own countries. As an organization, we are also working with local charities on the ground to address skills-based volunteering opportunities and help Ukrainian organizations avoid cyber threats or recover from a cyber attack.
We continue to monitor the changing situation and will adjust our approach as needed. We hope that the governments and agencies around the world working to restore peace and prevent senseless loss of life will prevail.