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Cisco Moscow trashed offices as it quit Putin's putrid pariah state

Even destroyed spare parts, then may have rubbed salt into the wound by filing for tax write-offs

Cisco destroyed caches of spare parts, and even wrecked its own offices, when international sanctions on Russia saw it quit the country in June 2022.

According to Russian state media outlet TASS, Cisco's regulatory filings in Putin's pariah state revealed that the company depreciated stock and equipment worth ₽1,86 billion ($23 million) after first destroying it.

TASS's report states that office equipment, vehicles, furniture, and demo kit were also destroyed as Switchzilla retreated from Moscow.

The Russian newswire even consulted previous Cisco financial filings and could find no comparable depreciation charges.

Russian law allows tax deductions for depreciation. The prospect that Cisco trashed its offices and intends to charge Putin's treasury for the privilege is delicious.

Less appetizing is the knowledge that Cisco staff remain on duty in Russia to discuss tax matters. TASS reports that the network giant had five staff in Russia at the end of 2022 – down from 60 at the same time in 2021.

While the likes of Cisco have quit Russia, the US and other nations are concerned that resellers in nations sympathetic to Russia facilitate sales of banned equipment into Putin's fetid fiefdom. The US government has expanded its list of sanctioned entities to include some it suspects of facilitating forbidden exports, and also added new jurisdictions to its list to close routes used for backdoor imports.

But some organizations are renting banned tech from clouds and services providers, rather than buying it, presenting a cloudy challenge to sanctions regimes.

International sanctions on Russia have hit the nation's tech sector hard: IT professionals have quit the country in large numbers, leading Moscow to offer special tax benefits for tech workers and IT firms.

The likes of Cisco, however, record mere blips resulting from Russia's actions. In the six months ended January 28, 2023, the networking giant recorded $5 million of costs related to the illegal invasion of Ukraine, on revenues of $15.7 billion.

The Register asked Cisco to confirm the TASS report but had not received a response at the time of publication. We'll update this story if substantive information arrives. ®

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