“The government demands clarification on the nationalization of the Ariston Thermo Group,” said Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani on the online service X. Italy is also working on the matter “with Brussels in conjunction with Germany.” Tajani said he also discussed the matter with Ariston management. His government stands “on the side of companies” and is “ready to protect them in all international markets”.

An EU spokesman condemned Moscow’s actions as “further evidence of Russia’s disregard for international laws and rules.”

A decree dated Thursday by President Vladimir Putin was published in Moscow on Friday, transferring control of all Ariston shares in Russian companies to Gazprom Household Systems, a subsidiary of the Russian state gas giant Gazprom. Affected are the subsidiary Ariston Thermo Rus, which belongs to Ariston Holding NV, as well as the company BSH Household Appliances, which in turn belongs to BSH Hausgeräte GmbH – a joint venture that was founded by the German companies Bosch and Siemens and has been fully owned since 2015 belongs to Bosch.

When asked, a spokeswoman for BSH Hausgeräte GmbH said the company was currently in talks with Gazprom Household Systems and did not want to comment on the Russian decision at the moment. The two Bosch plants in St. Petersburg, which produced washing machines and refrigerators, have been shut down since March 2022. BSH no longer exports household appliances and parts to Russia, the company spokeswoman told the AFP news agency.

The Ariston Group said it was “extremely surprised” by the decree. “We are awaiting an explanation for this unexpected action,” the company said.

Since the beginning of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, Moscow has seized the Russian subsidiaries of various Western companies, such as the food giant Danone and the beer manufacturer Carlsberg. In these cases, the Russian authorities refer to the assumption of “provisional control” and present them as a response to Western sanctions against Russian companies.

Western government officials and some of the companies have condemned Moscow’s “nationalization” of private companies.