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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Gov. J.B. Pritzker has asked Illinois employee pension systems to review potential divestment in Russian assets after Russia's invasion of neighboring Ukraine.

The Democrat wrote Monday night to the Illinois State Board of Investments, the Teachers' Retirement System and the State Universities' Retirement System asking them “to explore the potential of divesting state pension assets from Russian-based companies and Russian assets.”

Pritzker's action follows similar overtures in other states to protest Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision to invade its neighbor last week.[1]

“The state of Illinois stands with the people of Ukraine and nations around the world supporting peace in the country,” Pritzker wrote.

Divestment of Russian-related interests from the state's $100 billion portfolio likely wouldn't have the impact that economic sanctions imposed by the U.S. and much of the West.[2] But it has precedent.

State law prohibits investing in Iran, Sudan, and companies that boycott Israel.[3]

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Notes & References

  1. Lieb, David A. “US States Adding to Financial Pressure on Russia over War.” AP NEWS. Associated Press, March 1, 2022. https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-vladimir-putin-kathy-hochul-business-europe-3538def2049761b0b91e77ff600268d3. ↩︎

  2. Hussein, Fatima. “Russia Eyes Sanctions Workarounds in Energy, Gold, Crypto.” AP NEWS. Associated Press, March 1, 2022. https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-vladimir-putin-cryptocurrency-technology-business-d6a6d1bb3f664a555a2871eef3cd0e8c. ↩︎

  3. O'connor, John. “Illinois Seeks Ben & Jerry's Divestment over Israel Stance.” AP NEWS. Associated Press, July 29, 2021. https://apnews.com/article/middle-east-business-israel-illinois-0c7fa63454f15fe6b3de3ff2646f65ac. ↩︎