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Nintendo Considering Partnership With Controversial Russia Division Head Even As It Disavows His Side Business

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Editor's Note: The war in Ukraine is an ongoing, painful and emotive topic. IGN urges community members to be respectful when engaging in conversation around this subject and does not endorse harassment of any kind.

With its operations in Russia wound down to the bare minimum, Nintendo still has some obligations to customers in the country who bought Nintendo products before the company left. But according to a recent official statement, Nintendo seems to be looking at a fairly controversial figure to form that partnership.

Questions about Nintendo's Russian operations began thanks to a report by Russian outlet Kommersant (via Eurogamer), which pointed out the sale of Metroid Prime Remastered in Russia thanks to a company called Achivka. Its appearance on the market was surprising, given that Nintendo wound down operations in the country over a year ago following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, including the shutdown of the Russian eshop.

Achivka is owned by Yasha Haddazhi, who also happens to be the head of Nintendo Russia, and a fairly controversial figure even without the side import business. Back in 2018, fans called for Haddazhi's removal as Nintendo Russia head after footage circulated of him verbally abusing hosts of a Russian Mario Kart stream. Additional Russian language reports suggested further abusive behavior toward employees, especially inappropriate remarks made to women who worked with him, and at the time Nintendo confirmed it was investigating his conduct. While the results of the investigation were never published, Haddazhi clearly remained in his role at least until the shuttering of Nintendo Russia last year.

Nevertheless, Nintendo now appears to be considering an ongoing relationship with him. In a statement to Eurogamer, Nintendo reaffirmed its cessation of Russian operations except for "legal, contractual, and administrative requirements." Its Russian employees contracts have ended, but Nintendo did not say one way or another whether or not Haddazhi was still in his role.

Nintendo still wants to work with Yasha Haddazhi

It did, however, confirm it is seriously considering working with his company, Achivka, as a business partner to offer a "repair and warranty service" for existing Nintendo products in the country. But in the same statement, Nintendo claims no affiliation with companies offering import services like Achivka seems to be running.

We continue to investigate solutions to honour preceding commitments to our customers in the Russian market. In this vein and a spirit of transparency, we are in advanced discussions with potential suppliers of repair and warranty service for Nintendo products that had already been sold in the Russian market, with LLC Achivka being one such potential supplier.

We are aware that several companies in Russia operate parallel imports of goods, including Nintendo products. Nintendo is not affiliated with such companies and has no involvement in parallel import activities in Russia.

Nintendo's departure from Russia happened following the country's invasion of Ukraine last February. Nintendo joined numerous other gaming companies that slowed or stopped operations in the country, with many making statements in support of Ukraine or offering aid. In Ukraine itself, many game studios evacuated their operations elsewhere, while others remained, developing their games as the invasion continued. Russia's war on Ukraine is ongoing over a year later.


Rebekah Valentine is a news reporter for IGN. You can find her on Twitter @duckvalentine.

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