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A quick guide to doing business in Russia

What is on the minds of Russian business people? Let’s figure out together. To start with, we should mention the collapse of the Soviet Union. It has eliminated gigantic and multicultural state constituted by the assortment of countries, languages, races, republics, philosophies, religions that formed the vastest political union. Its collapse, however, serves to make us focus on the culture of Russia itself. And secondly, when you think of Russia climate is one feature that comes to mind. Even though winters in Russia are harsh, Russians are essentially warm, emotional, caring people, eagerly responding to kindness and love, once they perceive that they are not being “taken in” one more time. This fact also influences Russian business. What are some other features?

Negotiating with Russians

As far as attitudes of Russian people to the world, in general, are concerned, how do Russians see the rest of us and – importantly – how do we do business? As a society in transition, certain features of their business culture inevitably reflect the style of the economy. Russian negotiating characteristics, therefore, exhibit some traditional traits:

  • Russians negotiate like they play chess: they plan several moves ahead. Opponents should think of the consequences of each move before making it;
  • Russian negotiating teams are often composed of veterans or experts; consequently they are very experienced;
  • Russians often regard willingness to compromise as a sign of weakness;
  • They often make minor concessions and ask for major ones in return;
  • They usually ask the other side to speak first, so they may reflect on the position given;
  • Contracts are not as binding in the Russian mind as in Western minds. Like Asians, Russians see a contract as binding only if it continues to be mutually beneficial.

What do you need to keep in mind when negotiating with Russians?

  1. Do not be unduly influenced by Russian theatrical and emotional displays, but do show sympathy with the human aspects involved;
  2. Drink with Russians between meetings, it is one of the easiest ways to build bridges;
  3. Do not talk about WWII. We can get quite sensitive about it (and keep in mind that most Russian wars as defensive ones against aggressive neighbours). Remember that we were not taught your version of history;
  4. We love children, so exchanging photographs of your children is an excellent way to build relationships;
  5. We love having conversations. Do not hesitate to unburden yourself in front of Russians. We are fond of soul-searching;
  6. We achieve what we do largely through an intricate network of personal relationships. Favour is repaid by favour.

Do you feel like doing some business with Russians or thinking of expanding your operations and setting up a new branch in Russia? Would like to brush up your Russian or learn it from scratch? We have a wide range of Russian language courses on offer:) Just click HERE