Small businesses taking off in Russia, thanks to the crisis

cash-register

Many Russians are responding to a reduction in income or the loss of a job by showing creativity in setting up a small business, with the fastest growing sectors today in catering and online. RBTH asked several entrepreneurs to tell the story of their success. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ANNA KUCHMA, RBTH – February 8, 2016) While […]

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Putin’s New Internet Czar Wants Apple and Google to Pay More Taxes

iPad file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ilya Khrennikov and Stepan Kravchenko – February 8, 2016) When he’s not checking Gmail on his MacBook, Vladimir Putin’s new Internet czar can’t stop railing against American technology companies. Google, Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp., collectively worth more than Russia’s gross domestic product, have all entered German Klimenko’s crosshairs since he was named Putin’s first Internet […]

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Investment in oil and gas exploration may drop 10-15% in 2016

Gas Facility file photo

(Interfax – February 7, 2016) Investment in geological exploration for oil and gas in Russia may reduce 10-15% in 2016, Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology Sergei Donskoy said in a program aired by the NTV television channel. “Investment in hydrocarbon [exploration] will reduce somewhere between 10% and 15%, somewhere between these two digits,” he said. The minister said that […]

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Review: Arkady Ostrovsky’s ‘The Invention of Russia’

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

This new history tells a compelling, if normative, story of how Russia’s journalists and entrepreneurs threw off their former shackles, only to put them back on again. (opendemocracy.net – Maxim Edwards – February 3, 2016) Maxim Edwards is Commissioning Editor at oDR. He writes on nationalism, inter-ethnic and inter-religious relations, with a focus on post-Soviet countries. His articles have appeared […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with the core group of the Leaders Club

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Kremlin.ru – February 3, 2016) Vladimir Putin met with the core group of the Leaders Club, an informal association of small and medium business owners from various economic sectors. The Leaders Club was established in February 2012 and is engaged primarily in having businesspeople provide independent evaluations of conditions for doing business in Russia’s regions and the quality of state […]

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Putin Opens Asset Sales to Foreigners as Budget Gap Widens

Empty Boardroom

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ilya Arkhipov and Andrey Biryukov – February 2, 2016) President Vladimir Putin will allow foreign investors to bid for stakes in some of Russia’s largest companies as the government prepares its most ambitious asset-sale program in years to close a widening budget gap. “Russia was and remains open for foreign investment and Russia is interested in […]

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NEWSLINK: “Could sanctions spur Russia’s ascent to agricultural superpower? Since the end of the Soviet era, Russia’s agricultural industry has languished. But with sanctions now keeping European goods out of the Russian market, small domestic farmers are stepping up.” – Christian Science Monitor

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Kremlin: Privatization of Russian companies open for foreign investors

Dmitry Peskov file photo adapted from image at kremlin.ru/wikimedia commons

(Interfax – February 2, 2016) Privatization of Russian companies is open for foreign investors, and Russia is interested in attracting new foreign partners, the Kremlin has said. “Russia has always been interested in foreign investors; we value cooperation with those who continue to operate on the Russian market and we are interested in an inflow of fresh investments,” Kremlin press […]

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Putin Says No Privatization at Knockdown Prices

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – February 2, 2016) President Vladimir Putin on Monday threw cold water on proposals to quickly sell stakes in state companies to fill holes in Russia’s budget. “There should be no sale of shares cheaply, at giveaway prices. This won’t bring particular benefit to the budget,” Putin said at a meeting with officials and heads of […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting on privatisation

Empty Boardroom

(Kremlin.ru – February 1, 2016) Vladimir Putin held a meeting to discuss privatisation issues. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues. We have met today to discuss the Government’s privatisation plans for 2016. I have just looked over a few issues with [Prime Minister] Mr Medvedev. The privatisation process plays an important part in changing the Russian economy’s structure […]

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Has the crisis driven back corruption in Russia?

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

The British television channel BBC One has reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s personal fortune totals $40 billion. At the same time, Putin himself has ordered officials to act “tough” in returning everything stolen and taken out of Russia. Could the economic crisis lead to a reduction in corruption in the country? (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – YEKATERINA […]

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Russia’s Great Shift Downward; Putin has shown little interest in changing the economic model.

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Carol Matlack – January 28, 2016) For Russia’s battered economy, 2016 already looks miserable. The ruble has slumped to record lows as oil prices have fallen 11 percent since Jan. 1, to around $30 a barrel. The government, which gets nearly half its revenue from oil and gas, is scrambling to plug a 1.5 trillion-ruble ($19.2 […]

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Sweden delivers judgment in favor of Russia in dispute with Yukos holders

Map of Sweden and Environs

(Interfax – January 28, 2016) A Swedish appeals court upheld Russia’s appeal filed earlier in its dispute with the Spanish investment funds, which were holders of American Depositary Receipts (‘ADRs’) of Yukos, Kommersant newspaper reported on Jan. 28. The appeals court acknowledged the fact that the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce that sustained the funds’ claims to […]

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NEWSLINK Carnegie Moscow/Mikhail Krutikhin: “The Russian Oil Industry in the Era of Cheap Crude. A recent slight increase in Russia’s oil output is likely to be short-lived. Oil production may decline almost twofold by the end of the year due to a lack of financing for new field exploration and development.”

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At Davos forum Russia promises to eliminate its dependence on oil

Oil Well file photo

Russian representatives announced imminent large-scale economic reforms at the World Economic Forum. The proposed changes would affect the country’s dependence on oil and the facilitation of investors accessing the market. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXEI LOSSAN, RBTH – January 25, 2016) Low oil prices are helping the Russian government carry out large-scale reforms despite the drastic reduction […]

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Facing Oil Price Plunge, Russia Considers Fire Sale of State Companies

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Hobson – January 22, 2016) Russian officials are touting a new wave of privatization to fill the hole in the government’s finances caused by the slumping oil price. With the cost of crude falling toward $30 per barrel early in the year, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov announced that 1 trillion rubles ($12.5 billion) could […]

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Russia identifies economic backwardness as national security threat

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Interfax – January 19, 2016) Russia’s new national security strategy identifies the key threats to the country. The main threats to national security in the economic sphere are the low competitiveness of the Russian economy and its continuing dependence on raw material exports, Sergey Vakhrukov, aide to the secretary of the Russian Security Council, told journalists on 19 January, as […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] at National Entrepreneurs’ Forum Small Business – National Idea?

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Kremlin.ru – January 20, 2016) Vladimir Putin took part in the plenary session of the National Entrepreneurs’ Forum Small Business – National Idea? The forum examined issues such as support for small and medium-sized enterprises and measures to encourage business activity. The forum, organised by the OPORA Russia national public association of small and medium-sized enterprises, is taking place in […]

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NEWSLINK Russia Direct: “Doing business in Russia: High risk, but also high reward. New Report “The Magnetic Push and Pull of the Russian Economy: What’s Next for Investors in Russia?” examines how the Russian economy has changed over the past year and what new opportunities have emerged there for foreign investors.”

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Putin urges government to be ready for any economic scenario

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Interfax – January 13, 2016) Russian President Vladimir Putin has told the government to closely monitor changes in the economic situation and be ready for any turn. “We should be ready for any scenario,” he said at a meeting with Cabinet members. The president drew attention to how the situation changes on the markets. “I know that the government has […]

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Sanctions, Khachapuri, Burgers – Moscow’s Year in Food

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Andrei Muchnik – January 6, 2016) Despite the various sanctions, counter-sanctions, inflation and other economic and gastronomic woes, 2015 was a pretty good year for food lovers in Moscow. With all those economic problems, it’s no wonder that cheap but good fast food emerged as the main trend of the year. Georgian cuisine, previously associated […]

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For Protesting Russian Truckers, A Christmas Far From Home

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(RFE/RL – Tom Balmforth – January 6, 2016) KHIMKI, Russia — After dark in the frigid parking lot of an Ikea outlet north of Moscow, in the trailer of a grubby white truck heated by a generator, a dozen men are sitting in winter coats and hats watching a Soviet blockbuster on a projector. The cramped space has been a […]

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2015 in review: From the murder of Nemtsov to blackout in Crimea

Nemtsov March of Mourning

The murder of Boris Nemtsov was arguably the most discussed domestic political issue in Russia this year, along with the bankruptcy of Transaero, the blackout in Crimea and protests by long-haul truckers. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Igor Rozin – December 30, 2015) Nemtsov’s murder shocks the nation A woman holds a portrait of Russian opposition leader Boris […]

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Hard Times: Five Russians’ Hopes, Fears For 2016

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(RFE/RL – Tom Balmforth – MOSCOW, January 3, 2016) 2015 has been a tough year for many Russians. The economy has been mired in recession. Dragged down by oil prices, the ruble has languished near record lows. The cost of a typical trip abroad has doubled in ruble terms, and U.S. and EU sanctions over Moscow’s interference in Ukraine have […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] First Russian Internet Economy Forum

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Kremlin.ru – December 22, 2015) Vladimir Putin attended the First Russian Internet Economy Forum. The First Russian Internet Economy Forum is taking place in Moscow on December 21-22. The plenary session, attended by representatives of the national IT industry and relevant ministries and agencies, is dedicated to initiatives for the long-term development programme of the Russian Internet segment and branches […]

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Magnitsky’s mother asks Chaika to confirm publicized facts concerning her son

Memorial Flowers and Photo of Sergei Magnitsky

(Interfax – December 22, 2015) The mother of Hermitage Capital lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who died at a Moscow jail in 2009, has asked the Russian Prosecutor General, Yury Chaika, to provide evidence for the claims he made in a letter to the Kommersant daily regarding her son and the activity of the fund’s head, William Browder. “The information you disseminated […]

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How much are Western sanctions hurting Russia’s economy?

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

The difficult economic conditions have forced Russian businesses to reassess, which could be a good thing in the long run. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Ben Aris – December 21, 2015) Sanctions imposed by Western nations on Russia over its involvement in the Ukraine crisis and absorption of Crimea have hurt the country’s economy, but not mortally wounded […]

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Russian business falls in love with “Western” Christmas

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Russian Christmas – celebrated in January – is still a noncommercial family occasion. December is now the main month for holiday shopping. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXEI LOSSAN, RBTH – December 21, 2015) According to the city’s press services, festivals and fairs, such as the Journey to Christmas, are engines of development for tourism, business activities and […]

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Russia’s nascent middle class feels the squeeze in economic crisis

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

Russia’s middle class, which was growing in the early 2000s, has born the brunt of the economic downturn along with small-business owners. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXANDER BRATERSKY, SPECIAL TO RBTH – December 22, 2015) They created their wealth in the 1990s, enjoyed the fruits of the oil-rich 2000s and hoped to give their children a better […]

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Back to the Uncertain Future for Mikhail Khodorkovsky

Mikhail Khodorkovsky file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Dmitry Elovsky, Mikhail Fishman – December 17, 2015) The mob-style execution of Vladimir Petukhov, mayor of the Siberian oil capital Nefteyugansk, one summer morning in 1998 was not an unusual occurrence for the “wild 90s” era of Russian business. But it has returned to the spotlight as part of the reanimated prosecution of former Yukos […]

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Russian Businessman Lashes Out At Kremlin, Becomes Cause Celebre

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(RFE/RL – Carl Schreck, Mumin Shakirov – December 11, 2015) Russian entrepreneur Dmitry Potapenko’s address to a recent economic roundtable in Moscow began routinely enough, with a snapshot of his retail and food businesses at home and abroad. Things escalated quickly from there. With a Kremlin-loyal federal lawmaker looking on, the plainspoken Potapenko proceeded to upbraid the Russian government for […]

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Russia still interested in attracting foreign investors despite economic, political problems – PM

File Photo of Outdoor Electronic Sign with Russian Exchange Data

MOSCOW. Dec 11 (Interfax) – Russia is still interested in attracting foreign investors despite the economic and political problems, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, opening a meeting of the governmental commission on the control of foreign investments in Russia. “Despite certain internal economic difficulties, foreign political problems, the exacerbation of the international situation, it is obvious that Russia is still […]

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Russia prepared to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 70% by 2030

File Photo of Smokestacking Spewing Cloud of Discharge

(Interfax – December 10, 2015) Russia is prepared to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by another 5 percentage points, or to 70 percent of the 1990 level by 2030, the Russian Natural Resources and Environment Ministry reported Minister Sergei Donskoi as saying at the UN climate conference (COP21) in Paris. Donskoi sai that combating climate change is a national priority […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Medvedev on] The implementation of roadmaps for the national entrepreneurial initiative

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(Government.ru – December 1, 2015) Conference on the implementation of roadmaps for the national entrepreneurial initiative From Dmitry Medvedev’s opening remarks: The national entrepreneurial initiative has become a fundamentally new programme to improve the business climate in the country. This year will see the main stage of this paramount national project come to completion. The programme’s reforms were shaped by […]

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How Russian women succeed in business management

Empty Boardroom

Leading businesswomen tell RBTH that the keys to success for female managers in Russia are being client-oriented, persistent and experienced. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXEI LOSSAN, RBTH – December 8, 2015) When it comes to Russia’s economy, experts believe that women are mostly active in consumer-oriented sectors. “A lot depends on the sector in which the company […]

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Russian businesswomen break the glass ceiling

Empty Boardroom

Despite large number of female managers in Russia, experts caution that women are mostly active in small businesses. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXEI LOSSAN, RBTH – December 7, 2015) While Russia is believed to have the largest proportion of women in senior managerial positions in the world, women are mostly active in small businesses. In the medium […]

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Truckers’ Strike Won’t Lead to Political Change in Russia, Gontmakher Says

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, December 7, 2015) Pro-Kremlin writers have argued that the deteriorating economic situation will lead Russians to willingly tighten their belts, and opposition ones have suggested that economic problems will lead to political protests and even regime change. But both are wrong, Yevgeny Gontmakher says. In a commentary today, the Moscow economic analyst […]

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Russians Find New Holiday Spots After Egypt, Turkey Bans

egypt-camel

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Joanna Kozlowska – December 4, 2015) Russian tour operators have seen increasing demand for tours to India, Thailand, and the UAE following restrictions on travel to Egypt and Turkey – Russians’ two preferred destinations in the first half of 2015, Russian media reported on Friday. At the same time, officials’ attempts to revive interest in […]

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Truck Protests Signal New Kind of Social Activism

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Vasily Kolotilov – December 4, 2015) “I think I will set my car on fire soon. The tax will take us all down. I get 112 rubles a month in social payments for my kid – how am I supposed to raise him on that?” says Rasul, a truck driver from Russia’s North Caucasus republic […]

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Climate Change And The View From Moscow

Snowy Night on Red Square with Old St. Basil's Lit Up

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Tom Balmforth – Explainer – MOSCOW, November 29, 2015) Russia’s size and broad range of environments, from the arid southern steppe to the frigid Arctic, expose the world’s largest country to many aspects of climate change. President Vladimir Putin is one of dozens of leaders expected to attend a UN conference on climate change that starts […]

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Despite Economic Woes, the Book Fair is Bigger Than Ever

Bookcase file photo, adapted from image at nlm.nih.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Justin Lifflander – November 28, 2015) Other countries have book fairs where publishers come to do business. The 17th International Book Fair for High-Quality Fiction and Non-Fiction – commonly simply referred to as “nonfiction” – taking place in Moscow this week is very much an event for readers. And as such it is a good […]

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Three urban legends about Russian business people

Empty Boardroom

A Skolkovo professor dispels some myths about doing business with Russians. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Moty Cristal – November 19, 2015) Moty Cristal is Professor of Professional Practice in Negotiation Dynamics at the Skolkovo Moscow School of Management There is a clear distinction between business in Russia and business with Russians. When people say, “doing business in […]

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