Nintendo no longer employs the company’s former boss of Russian operations Yasha Haddaji, Eurogamer can reveal.
Haddaji’s final day as a Nintendo staff member was yesterday, 31st May. The news comes a month after it was reported that Haddaji had imported copies of Metroid Prime Remastered into Russia via a side company, skirting Nintendo’s own official sales ban.
“Mr Haddaji’s contract with Nintendo ended on 31st May,” a Nintendo of Europe spokesperson confirmed to Eurogamer after being asked for comment.
However, Nintendo will still work with Haddaji via that same side business, Achivka, which will now act as Nintendo’s provider of customer support in the country.
Last month, Eurogamer published a report on the current state of Nintendo’s operations in Russia. Nintendo officially halted product shipments to the country in March 2022, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
At the time, Nintendo denied being affiliated with Achivka and said it had “no involvement in parallel import activities in Russia”, despite the fact that Achivka is owned by Haddaji, then a Nintendo employee, and has its official business address listed as the same as Nintendo’s own Russian headquarters. It is also part-owned by another Nintendo Russia employee – corporate events manager Ksenia Kachalova.
Nintendo previously told Eurogamer it was active in Russia only to continue “legal, contractual and administrative requirements”, and that the majority of Moscow-based employees had been terminated “by mutual agreement”. But a few, including Haddaji, had remained on the company’s books.
When questioned specifically about Haddaji’s employment, Nintendo confirmed to Eurogamer that he was still a Nintendo staff member despite his activities with Achivka, which he appeared to be running out of the same building.
Indeed, Nintendo confirmed that Haddaji’s company was being considered as a potential supplier of repair and warranty services for Nintendo products that had already been sold in Russia.
Now, that relationship has been made official.
“To honour preceding commitments to our customers and ensure service continuity, Nintendo entered into a temporary cooperation with [Haddaji’s] company LLC Achivka as its official supplier for repair and warranty for Nintendo products that had already been sold in the Russian market,” Nintendo has now confirmed to Eurogamer.
The timing of Haddaji’s departure coincides with Nintendo’s formal decision to permanently close its digital eShop in Russia. Nintendo informed developers of its decision via email yesterday, as seen by Game Developer. Nintendo took its Russian eShop offline for “maintenance” in early 2022. Going forward, Switch owners will simply be able to use the eShop to redownload already-purchased games.
Despite Haddaji having run Achivka for some time, his LinkedIn page states he became General Manager of the company as of June 2023. His tenure as General Manager of Nintendo Russia is listed as ending in May 2023, suggesting there was no overlap.
Haddaji previously sparked criticism from Nintendo fans after a video surfaced which showed him verbally abusing hosts of a Russian Mario Kart livestream.
A subsequent investigation into Haddaji’s workplace conduct, including allegations of workplace harassment, ended with the boss left to remain in his position.
Years later, and despite no longer being an official Nintendo employee, Haddaji’s close relationship with the company continues.