What to Expect Doing Business in Russia Today?
Business climate for SME in Russia experiences positive development according to Sergey Borisov, the president of Opora Russia, the largest SME union in country. In the last five years administrative procedures for registering a new business became significantly easier and cheaper. The amount of complaints associated with taxation and federal inspection fell by more than 50%.
The major concerns faced by SMEs in Russia are the lack of qualified personnel, insufficient demand and financing. Other elements, such as corruption, moved to the end of the top-10 negative factors list. Indeed, credit risks in the SME sector are considered to be high. Many of the large governmental orders are outsourced to large corporations; and the professional education reforms are yet to be discussed.
However, the coming months are going to be critical for international investors and businesses coming to Russia. Finalizing the deal of joining the W.T.O. by the end of August promises not only Russia’s long term economic growth of up to 11%, but also improved clarity of foreign trade regulation and financial stability. According to Sergey Borisov, Russian farmers will have the hardest time to adapt to the post-W.T.O. economy. Western farmers have better technology on-hand, therefore, the opportunity for foreign businesses in agricultural sector is outrageous. In general, it is planned to grow the SMEs to 50% of Russian GDP in the next eight years, which means doubling the positive dynamics and stimulating growth.
At the same time, the first 60 days of president Putin’s new term show that government is likely to move towards increased, yet more controlled support and diversification of Russian business. Governmental initiatives such as establishment of Skolkovo, creation of Presidential Economic Council, or financing forums such as INNOPROM 2012, are geared towards facilitating economic development through creation of more favorable business environment for SMEs. But in order to utilize these dynamics, foreign SMEs should carefully research and plan their strategic partnerships and an alliance in Russia’s changing landscape.
Dance From The Oven!
Idioms are an inevitable part of learning the new language. The fun part about idioms is that they can actually reveal a lot about culture. The Russian idiom “Танцевать от печки“ [tanstevat’ ot pechki] (translates as “to dance from the oven”) is not intuitive, but extremely interesting and informative. It actually means “to start from the very beginning”.
What does oven have to do with dancing and with starting from very beginning? Well, there are two possible answers. Some language historians believe that children in aristocratic families back in the days were starting to learn dance steps from the oven or the stove in the house, since ovens usually were located in the corner. If the student was making mistakes, he/she was required to go back to the oven and start the dance all over again.
Other linguists think that this idiom is related to the tradition around the typical Russian home construction. Over hundreds of years, houses in Russia were beginning from building the oven. It was the first element that was assembled after the walls and the location of all rooms and furniture in the house was decided based on the position of the oven.
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