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Negociation and partnerships with Russians


Preparing a negociation

Negotiations often involve technical, legal and business issues at the same time, which means that Russian companies can have several negotiators present at the same meeting. Russian managers often see managers from western countries as professionally and skilled and one must therefore not be surprised if her or his Russian counterparts want to discuss management rules as well as a technical view of a product. It is important to have a trained sale staff since Russians often have high technical knowledge and likes to discuss the technical background of your products. English is widely spread and spoken by many business people. German can be useful, especially among technical-skilled people.

Managing contracts and partnerships

Entering the Russian market without any collaboration or partnership with Russian businesses or other companies is difficult. It is preferable if our own country has set up contacts, so that one can access the already existing networks of suppliers, distributors, workers, etc.

Partnership is highly recommended, especially for small and middle-size businesses. Personal contacts are vital. Having common friends is valuable. Good relationship and mutual sympathy is a foundation for trust. Exclusiveness of the offer or special exceptions are appreciated.

Written documents are treated seriously in Russia. They are generally respected, at least as long the basic law under which it was written remains valid.

Compromise is seen as a weakness; for the Russians it is important to win.

Time reserves and patience are necessary since time is not valued as it is in the West.

“If a Russian business partner says that something is “impossible”, it is still “negotiable”.

Regional differences

The way of doing business in Moscow is not the same as that in St. Petersburg; business transactions in one region will not be identical to those in another region regarding issues ranging from infrastructure to site-specific government regulations. The ins and outs, the peculiarities and idiosyncrasies of a specific market, vary by region and even by city.

When doing business with domestic companies, companies should carefully check their creditworthiness.

Business ethics

Unethical business behaviour is not uncommon. It can take the form of financial fraud among partners, breach of word, failure to pay taxes or deceptive advertising.

The ground for this behaviour goes back to lack of trust, as it is difficult to live in a society where people do not trust each other. In most societies, business ethics and moral is a way to succeed, while in Russia such behaviour can be devastating to one's business.

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