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Negotiating International Business - Russia
This section is an excerpt from the book “Negotiating International Business - The Negotiator’s Reference Guide to 50 Countries Around the World” by Lothar Katz. It has been updated with inputs from readers and others, most recently in March 2008.

Previously the leading state of the USSR, Russia became a separate country in 1991. Most businesspeople and officials in the country have little experience with other cultures except for its neighboring countries. There is still a widespread lack of free-market knowledge. It may be necessary to discuss and seek agreement over the definition of concepts such as fair play, good will, profit and loss, turnover, individual accountability, proprietary rights, and so forth. Even when you do, people’s expectation may frequently be that things are done ‘their way.’ You may find vast cultural differences within this culturally pluralistic country. Not only does the Russian Far East include a broad mix of cultural influences, but also there are notable differences between the western European region, with St. Petersburg as its most influential city, and the eastern European part around Moscow. On top of that, the dynamic political and economic changes of the past few years brought about a wide range of acceptable business behaviors. The information in this section can only provide general guidelines. When doing business in Russia, expect the unexpected. Most Russians are very proud of their country. It would be a serious mistake to belittle its accomplishments or to refer to it as a ‘loser’ of the Cold War.

Relationships and Respect
Russia’s culture expects its members to have a sense of belonging to and conforming with their group. At the same time, it leaves some room for individual preferences. Building lasting and trusting relationships is very important and can be crucial for your…...

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