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Long Holidays No Boon for Russian Business
18 February 2008
Long Holidays No Boon for Russian Business

Opinion
Long Holidays No Boon for Russian Business

The results of a recent USRCCNE poll, run in conjunction with USRCCNE member Alinga Consulting Group, among readers of those organizations' Russian-business-oriented publications (not limited to clients or members), reveals a majority of respondents feel that Russia's long holidays are a drag on business.

Five of nineteen respondents stated that the holidays have positive or no effects on Russian business. The majority of those respondents point to the fact that the time off allows foreign employees time to travel home to visit family and allows workers time off to spend with family or vacation. Most respondents used the word "humanity" in some way to describe why the holidays are good. One responded by saying that Scandinavians can take large amounts of time off during the summer months, showing that the occurrence is not entirely limited to Russia.

The great majority -- fourteen of nineteen respondents -- stated that the holidays have negative effects. Most pointed to the fact that the long holidays, which start just as a one-week holiday in the West is ending, generally results in Russia being "off the market" for even longer than the prescribed two weeks. If to add to this the fact that many Russian workers will extend their holidays by taking personal, sick, or vacation days around this same time, you have a situation whereby offices can be disrupted for longer than a full month. One reader even pointed to an article published last year in the Moscow Times that asserts that the winter holidays may shave as much as 2% off Russia's total GDP. Other respondents pointed specifically to problems created for those businesses that need to coordinate internal company activities between Western and Russian offices.

Of course, it should be stated that this poll was highly unscientific and targeted a very wide range of people - from business owners to employees to people who simply follow Russian business and society as a hobby. This, along with the fact that the number of respondents was quite low, would make this poll a tough one to cite in any academic or professional study. However, we don't think that makes the results any less interesting.

Josh Wilson
General Editor
USRCCNE.org and
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