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Connecticut to Divest Russian-Owned Assets from Pensions

The state’s investment in companies in Russia and government debt issued by Russia amounts to $218 million, less than half of 1 percent of the state’s total retirement funds, and has been in decline since 2014.

(TNS) — Connecticut is divesting Russian-owned assets from its retirement plans and trust funds following Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine, state Treasurer Shawn T. Wooden said Tuesday.

State investments in companies in Russia and government debt issued by Russia amount to $218 million, less than half of 1 percent of the state’s retirement funds valued at more than $47 billion. Wooden’s decision to drop the investments are as much a business decision in response to the collapsing value of Russian investments due to sanctions squeezing its economy as a protest against Russia’s attack on a democratically elected government.

“The Ukrainian people are experiencing an assault on their freedom and suffering devastating human loss due to an unprovoked and unjustified attack by the Russian government,” Wooden said. “We cannot stand idly by as the humanitarian crisis unfolds and Russian markets crumble, and I cannot continue to invest these pension funds in a way that runs counter to the foreign policy and national interests of the United States.”

The attack that Russian President Vladimir Putin launched last Thursday has created a fiscal and humanitarian crisis that puts global markets at risk, Wooden said. His decision to divest Russian stocks and bonds is a “necessary step towards protecting the long-term viability of our investments globally.”

The value of Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Fund’s Russian-related investments has declined since 2014 due to rising geopolitical risks, he said. Sanctions imposed over the past several years against Russia and Russian cyberattacks and election interference “have made the Russian markets less favorable relative to others,” Wooden said.

“Eliminating our holdings of Russian assets is not only a moral imperative but the current crisis also constitutes a substantial risk for Connecticut’s investments, our national policy and economic security,” Wooden said.

Connecticut joins California, Georgia, Oregon, Pennsylvania and other states that are moving to divest state assets from Russian interests.

Wooden said in a statement that Putin “needs to know that the free world stands in solidarity with the Ukrainian people and that Putin’s abhorrent actions will have enduring, harrowing economic consequences in the days, months, and years ahead.”

The treasurer’s office did not release a specific list of the investments he targeted.

©2022 Hartford Courant. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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