As the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues, some Russian businesses and restaurants in the United States have been threatened and vandalized, according to published reports.
In Washington, D.C., The Washington Post reports that Russia House Restaurant and Lounge was vandalized last weekend, resulting in three broken windows.
In an interview with the Post, owner Aaron McGovern said he thought the vandalism at the restaurant might be linked to opposition to the Russian attack on Ukraine.
He said his restaurant "has nothing to do with Russia or the attack."
"We are a U.S.-owned company trying to survive," he told the newspaper.
McGovern said operations at the restaurant were suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic.
"People just shouldn't start vandalizing property because of perceived beliefs about the political views of the owners," he said.
With the conflict intensifying, the owner of Pushkin Russian Restaurant in downtown San Diego told ABC 7 the business has been receiving threats and people have been leaving 1-star reviews online, saying the restaurant supports the Russian invasion.
Ike Gazaryan — who is Armenian — said that the threats have gotten progressively worse over the last few days, with some people threatening to blow up the restaurant.
"It bothers me mostly because it's the other way around," Gazaryan told ABC 7. "I've donated money to the Ukrainian cause. I've given money to my employees to send to their parents in Ukraine."
Half of the employees at his restaurant are Ukrainian, Gazaryan added.
"We proudly have our employees wear Ukrainian flags, paintings on their face," he told the news outlet. "We're all for this war to end as soon as possible."
Diana Deli in Columbus, Ohio, is run and managed by two people: one from Ukraine and the other from Russia, 10 WBNS reports.
Andrew Wurth, who works at the deli, said they've been getting threats since the invasion began.
"We had people call in and threaten the store," he told 10 WBNS. "They were asking which car in the parking lot was ours, describing cars in the parking lot, asking if people stay the night, implying that they were going to smash the windows and things. Asking about our support in the war, asking questions why Vladimir Putin is doing things, as if we had any part in it.
"We're just here to sell food," Wurth said.
At the New York City restaurant Sveta, co-owner Alan Aguichev told Insider he is taking down any mention of Russian food from the eatery's online presence and changing it instead to "European."
He said he can only control so much, however, considering the difficulty of scrubbing the internet.
On the first day of the invasion, last week, Aguichev told the news outlet that someone emailed him with the subject line "Hate Russians," and the body of the message said, "Go home." He also said he's seen a slight drop in customers.
On Sunday, The Russian House of Austin officially changed its name to The House. Owner Varda Monamour told KXAN the decision "is for the people of Ukraine."
"For them right now, the name is painful," Monamour said. "I'm doing this for [the] people of Russia, because there are so many people who don't want this war. I'm doing this for [the] people of Austin, because they need to know our position and understand what we really are."
"To me, the name doesn't reflect what we really are," she continued. "And if it saddens or brings pain to others, we just feel it needs to be 'The House' — the house for everyone. The house where people can come in and enjoy a good meal and concentrate on good things and something that brings us together, not puts us apart."
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