Business Opportunities In Russia

Traditional Russian business - venik

Russia was the biggest part of the former Soviet Union. Even today, it covers the largest land mass of any country in the world. It stretches across both the Asian and European continents and, although 80% of the population is ethnically Russian, it is racially diverse and home to many multicultural groups. It spans 8 time zones.

Russia is now a federal state of 89 regions. In 1991, an unsuccessful coup led to the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the Communist Party rule. Individual republics began to declare independence from the Kremlin authorities. Russia is a collection of often-diverse regions with continuing struggles for control between central and regional politicians. Vladimir Putin has striven to consolidate the power of the central government’s executive powers.

The Russian economy has heavily depended on natural resources, particularly oil. Recent booming oil prices have supported economic performance, but reliance on volatile natural resources is risky. Short to medium term, the risks are few with significant oil reserves available to bail out the economy in the event of any turn down in performance. However, Russian business is still over-regulated, and the Government’s preparedness to roll out reforms and success in their fiscal management is key to long-term prosperity.

Russia has experienced some significant technological developments since the 1990s. Whilst rural parts of the country are still underdeveloped, the urban hubs of Moscow and St. Petersburg now have well-established systems. There are over 20 million landline telephones and over 30 million mobile phone users. Internet and email services are gradually improving as extensive work continues on the telecommunications infrastructure.

Points for Business in Russia:

As Russia continues to develop post-Soviet Union break-up, there are significant opportunities for EU and US corporations. Difficulties remain over the move to free-market economies, and the central government continues to wrestle with the twin challenges of bureaucracy and corruption. The economy remains strong. Although over-exposed to natural resources, there are moves to drive inward investment, and it can be reasonably assumed that these will continue and expand.