Business in Russia is far too wide a concept to cover in one webpage. The following information focuses on general business information, particularly that affecting consumer goods and services. Resource extraction, manufacturing, and financial markets will be covered in future pages. Developed in association with USRCCNE member The School of Russian and Asian Studies.
Color Code: Red links are to sites only in Russian.
Gray links have English available.
1. Business News Sources back to top
Vedomosti is Russia's most respected business news source and enjoys an active partnership with the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times.
Russia Profile is recognized as a source of objective business news and analysis.
The Alinga Market Update provides free, bilingual monthly news detailing changes to tax regulations, commercial law, and economic indicators.
Klerk.ru is a widely used and respected site providing the nitty-gritty of business news - with separate sections for accounting, law, banking, management, and programming.
C-News provides regular, high quality news about the Russian IT industry.
4. International Business Organizations back to top
(General interest, industry specific organizations will be listed under "Markets")
BISNIS is the U.S. Government's primary market information center for U.S. companies exploring export and investment opportunities in Russia and Eurasia. BISNIS provides U.S. companies with the latest market reports and tips on developments, export and investment leads, and strategies for doing business in Russia and Eurasia. Since opening in 1992, BISNIS has facilitated more than $4.0 billion worth of U.S. exports and overseas investments. "Eurasia" includes much of Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and Russia.
The American Chamber of Commerce in Russia (AmCham-Russia) is the largest and most influential foreign business organization in Russia. It is an impact player in the policy-making arenas of both the U.S. and Russian governments, endorsing solutions to trade and investment issues that protect and benefit the interests of over 800 member companies.
The SABIT Training Program provides a unique low-cost, low-risk opportunity to facilitate U.S.-Eurasian partnerships. Partly funded by the American government, SABIT helps American organizations form relationships with potential customers, distributors, or partners who can assist in facilitating profitable international transactions. It works partly in conjunction with a similar U.S. funded efforts BuyUSA.com.
The US-Russia Business Council (USRBC) is a Washington-based trade association that represents the interests of 300 member companies operating in the Russian market. Through a range of activities, the Council contributes to the stability and development of a free market in Russia and supports Russia's integration into the global economy.
The Russia-US Business Council (RABC) is a Moscow-based trade association that represents major Russian business in lobbying governments for better business policies. They recently received substantial funding and support from the Kremlin to step up their efforts in Washington.
Center for Citizen Initiatives (CCI) is an American NGO providing training to Russian entrepreneurs and other programs to help improve the Russian business climate.
The U.S.-Russia Chamber of Commerce of New England, Inc. (USRCCNE) is a non-profit business organization for companies and professional individuals involved with economic activity in Russia and the FSU. It promotes business and cultural ties.
The Mid-Atlantic Russia Business Council was founded in part by U.S. Congressman Curt Weldon. The organization is very active in organizing U.S.-Russia cultural, political, business, and technological events in the Philadelphia area.
Most developed countries have at least one such organization established to promote trade with Russia. See, for example, those for Britain, the European Union, Sweden, and Canada.
5. Russian Government Agencies back to top
The Ministry of Economic Development and Trade is a sprawling organization which regulates and/or advises on nearly everything to do with the economy. The site is equally sprawling in Russian with departments and laws posted – but only the home page with ministry news is available in English.
Federal Customs Service enforces customs legislation and controls the amount of currency entering/leaving Russia and confiscate contraband. The organization is answerable to the legislature, the Ministries of Economic Development and Finance, and the Central Bank. Most of the site is available in English and even plays the national anthem!
Regional Resources for Investors brings localized stats, advice, banking info...
Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat) compiles figures on crime, economic indicators, production stats, and IMF reporting. The English is useful and abundant, but sometimes is direct translation and therefore a little confusing.
Federal Tax Service is Russia's IRS. Their website is detailed, organized, and largely available in English. Most documents are Russian-only. Businesses deal most directly not with the federal service, but with regional tax inspectorates, such as this one in Moscow.
Click here for a brief description of Russia's tax system.
The Central Bank controls the money supply and interest rates and sets standards for banking activities. It also helps regulate and monitor securities trading and IMF reporting.
The Ministry of Finance reports on economic indicators, advises on reform issues concerning banking, the budget, regional tax collection, and pension fund. Also in charge of managing the state budget and national debt.
Federal Anti-Monopoly Service regulates large mergers and acquisitions as well as any large business openings.
Federal Tariff Service regulates the prices of utilities (gas, water, communal housing, etc.)
Federal Service for Intellectual Property, Patents, and Trademarks (Rospatent) registers and protects trademarks and intellectual property under the Ministry of Education and Science. Their site is poorly and sparsely translated.
6. Unions and Russian Business Organizations back to top
Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP) is a nation-wide, independent, public organization aimed at consolidating the efforts of industrialists and businessmen in Russia to improve the business environment inside Russia. To this end, the RSPP also works with international and foreign organizations, the Russian government, and other groups.
Moscow Association of Entrepreneurs is actually a nationwide organization working with the government and other organizations to support Russian business in Russia. They also publish a corporate journal and a how-to guide on opening and operating a small business (published in 25 volumes and known as the Small Business Encyclopedia).
Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia is a nation-wide union of unions. Their site provides information on union activities, the labor code, worker's rights, and gender equality although it doesn't seem to state who its members are or the organization's specific goals.
All-Russia Confederation of Labor is another nation-wide union of unions. While perhaps less informative, the site is better organized and refers to specific work the group is doing with the government of the Russian Federation. They also have an English language history available.
Council for Trade and Economic Development is a non-profit organization supporting and facilitating trade between the U.S. and the CIS.
Russian Venture Fair is an annual event in St. Petersburg for venture capitalists.
Article: Understanding Russian Labor Law
Article: Worker's Stories
7. Market Entry and Business Support back to top
Alinga Consulting Group, a sister company to SRAS, provides business support services including accounting, audit, legal consulting, and personnel in the Russian market. International and Russian companies often find these services invaluable in Russia's complex and often legally vague markets.
Many other such companies also operate in this large and growing market, including each of the "Big Four:" PriceWaterhouseCoopers; Deloitte; Ernst and Young; and KPMG.
Case Study: Metro Cash and Carry Enters Russian Market
Russian Accounting Standards are another frequent complaint of businesses. Rather than GAAP, Russia uses its own standards, known as Russian Accounting Standards (RAS). For companies with foreign investment, this can cause major headaches as two sets of books must be kept - one for the Russian Tax Service, the other for investors. For a brief account of the differences, click here. For a fully detailed account, click here.
Glossary: GAAP.ru provides translations for general accounting terminology.