Successful Entertaining in Russia

It is difficult to know what to expect when invited out to lunch or dinner in Russia.

The event could simply be a relationship building exercise where little if any actual business is discussed but on the other hand, you can find yourself in very detailed negotiations, with pressure being applied to complete a deal.

Whatever issues are discussed, the meal is very likely to be a fairly lavish and lengthy affair with more than enough food to keep you going for the rest of the day. Try to eat heartily and express your appreciation of the food on offer, as this reflects well on the host.

Russia has always had a reputation for being a hard drinking culture and this has traditionally been true. Many Russians insist that heavy drinking sessions at business dinners are becoming a thing of the past, but you have to expect that a good deal of strong alcohol is likely to be consumed — very often during the elaborate toasting sessions that take place. Favourite drinks are vodka and Russian champagne, although beer and wine are now more common than a few years ago.

Service charges are invariably added to the bill but it is customary to leave an additional tip of around 10%.

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

Written and Produced by Keith Warburton

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Russia is the world’s largest energy exporter which should mean that its economy is strong and that its people prosper. However, a combination of oil price volatility and the impact of economic sanctions put in place in response to perceived Russian military aggression have resulted in years of recession. This has left the country’s potential unfulfilled, as well as an infrastructure crying out for massive levels of investment

Russia does undoubtedly have massive potential. It has boundless natural resources, with a highly educated population who are aspirational and consumerist in nature. If Russia can regain its position as a mainstream player on the global political stage, then it is poised for a very bright future.

So, should you be thinking about doing business in Russia? That’s a difficult one to answer but our advice would be that there is a huge potential up-side in Russia but that before venturing into such a complex market it is essential to do considerable research and due diligence. This advice is sound for any new market but it is doubly applicable when doing business in Russia.
One area of business in Russia that needs research is around the cultural norms you will encounter within the Russian business community. They do things differently in Russia and you need to know what to expect. Who you know is vitally important in Russia but how you interact with key contacts is just as important. Don’t spend months cultivating the right people only to alienate them by doing the wrong thing or communicating in an inappropriate manner.

This country profile provides an overview of some of the key aspects of Russian business culture in a concise, easy to follow-format. The document includes information on:

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