Russia has faced some economic hardships over the last few months due to falling oil prices and sanctions created after the annexation of Crimea. However, even in this time of Russian economic crisis, many industries continue to succeed and grow in Russia allowing other nations the opportunity to conduct business inside of Russia’s immense borders.
It is important to remember the cultural implications when conducting business in Russia as this is a unique culture greatly impacted by both traditional practices and political changes. Below are three facts to consider when working with Russian counterparts.
1. Old Versus New- Businesses experienced a shift in practices after the fall of the Soviet Union. Most businesses now conform to a mix of these old and new principles. However, generational gaps may greatly impact this. Older workers who gained most of their career experiences during the Soviet Union may approach business conduct much differently than the generation whose childhood was during the political shift. Younger colleagues are usually more adapt at shifting between new and old ways of thinking than their older counterparts.
2. Red Tape- Russia is infamous for its bureaucracy and red tape. Goal accomplishment requires much persistence and patience. Knowing the correct points of contact and having personal relationships with the parties responsible for approving requests can help. Friendly phone calls and reminder emails are necessary, but should also be strategically timed as not to aggravate an already delicate situation.
3. Plan and be Flexible – Many people have stated that planning is pointless when conducting business in Russia. However, moving forward without a plan may be even more detrimental and time consuming. It is best to have a solid plan in place while knowing that they plan is, most likely, going to change significantly. Flexibility and the ability to adapt can go a long way towards helping things to run as smoothly as possible.
Cultural Candor specializes in helping businesses circumnavigate the alluring culture of Russia.