As might be expected in a country where managers are autocratic in style, meetings are often for the purpose of information dissemination, rather than for the open debate of current business issues.

Formal meetings are often held to ratify decisions which have been made elsewhere and to give clear instruction on key tasks to be performed.

Any open debate on the issues in hand will have been undertaken elsewhere in either one-to-one meetings or in smaller groups. It is in these background meetings where much of the real debate is undertaken. Without access to these meetings, it can be very difficult to influence the flow of events and it is only through cultivating very close relationships that an outsider will ever be invited into these inner cabals.

Formal meetings tend to be very structural and serious. The dour image associated with many Russian negotiators stems from the belief that a formal meeting is a serious affair and should be treated accordingly. Humour is seldom used in such serious situations.

A brief overview of some key concepts to consider when doing business in Russia

Written and Produced by Keith Warburton

Free Download


This country profile has been produced to give a short overview of some of the key concepts to bear in mind when doing business with contacts in Russia. It is intended to be an aid to business people who have commercial dealings with counterparties in the country but should not be seen as an exhaustive guide to this topic or as a substitute for more substantial research should there be a need.

With this in mind, we have covered the areas which are key to a better understanding of the cultural mindset underpinning business dealings in Russia and which are, quite often, extremely different from the approach and thought processes associated with business in other parts of the world.

Therefore this briefing note is broken into short, bite-sized sections on the following topics:

  • Background to business
  • Business Structures
  • Management style
  • Meetings
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Women in business
  • Entertaining
  • Top tips