Russia: a vast country crossing eleven time zones, peopled by many Russia
ethnic groups, with its culture deeply rooted in traditions from the East and West.  Russians have an egalitarian work ethic and are suspicious of those who ‘make good’. There is a general distrust of authority after years of autocratic rule. Many things are still in short supply but can be obtained on the black market. People still talk about the intelligentsia, and visits to the opera and ballet are common in all walks of life.

So far in this section you’ll find the  Top Ten Tips for doing business in Russia, along with opening times, holiday dates and festivities.


  1. Getting an invitation letter and visa can be a lengthy process; often quicker to obtain a tourist visa.
  2. Bribery is on the increase in the new market economy and many minor officials expect ‘commissions’. See blogs below.
  3. You are better making a personal approach than the ‘hard sell’.  Russians have a strong spirit and passion (their emotional soul, dusha) which are expressed frequently.
  4. They adopt a hard line in negotiating. Compromise is seen as a weakness. Compromise is morally incorrect; they will walk out of negotiations rather than give in. They are patient in waiting for concessions and will ‘out-sit’ the opposing team.
  5. Present in writing everything you hope to do and achieve (long-term aims) in any business venture. Present total unity among your team. Study and agree all details before signing any contract; once signed further negotiations are not allowed.
  6. A protokol is a written summary of the day’s meeting; you will be asked to sign this. This is not an agreement, merely a list of events.
  7. Russians like status, good international connections, and academic credentials. Be sure to mention yours and have printed any relevant information on your business cards (which should be bi-lingual). A network of well-connected close friends is of great importance.
  8. Don’t be calm; Russians expect you to be highly emotional, proclaim the deal is off, and to walk out of negotiations! Hold out for more attractive terms.
  9. Don’t assume people are telling lies; the practice of Vranyo (telling fibs) is very common (the Russian form of posturing). Making out to be prosperous and full of potential is part of this – appearances can be deceiving.
  10. Don’t expect your counterparts to be punctual; they may arrive one or two hours late for an appointment. Patience not punctuality is considered a virtue!

Public Holidays

January 1         New Year’s Day

January 2         2nd Day of New Year

January 7         Christmas Day

February 23     Defenders of the Motherland

March 8           International Women’s Day

March/ April   Easter Sunday

May 1              Labour Day / Spring Festival (2 days)

May 9              Victory Day (WWII)

June 9              Independence Day

November 7    Day of Accord and Reconciliation

December 12   Constitution Day

Weekend Saturday, Sunday

Business Hours 9.00-5.00

See my blogs on:

Russia: Insights Into the ‘Blat’ Economy

Russia: Bribery, Corruption & the High Price Of Bad Business

Russia: Cost of A Bribe Nearly Triples In One Year

What’s Your Country’s Corruption Perception Index

Useful Links:

Book: “Russia’s Economy of Favours: blat, networking, and informal exchange” by Alena V. Ledneva.

Transparency International, the organisation that publishes the world Corruption Perception Index

Trace International, a non-profit organisation providing compliance solutions for multinational companies and their commercial intermediaries

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This entry was posted on Thursday, August 20th, 2009 at 12:10 am and is filed under General, Russia/Asia, tips on doing business around the world . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

One Response to “ Russia: Top Ten Tips for Doing Business in Russia ”

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