Russians have too big thoughts about foreigners


These interviews are about 'human factor' in Russian business: those little somethings outside the scope of law which can dramatically change the way business is done in or with Russia.


1. Mr Malin, please tell us a few words about your business.

We market and sell lighting solutions. Fagerhult group has sales companies in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany, Estonia, Russia and China.

2. Are there differences in the manner of conducting business between Russian and foreign entrepreneurs (managers)?

The business environment in "the new economy" is very young in Russia, as well as most Russian businessmen.

Many foreign businessmen act according to old international business behaviour. They don’t see all the possibilities.

3. Which strategy would you consider the best for a foreign company operating on the Russian market: contractual relationship with a local company, own representative office or a branch, 100% subsidiary, JV with a local company?

Local subsidiary.

4. How adequately do the foreigners perceive Russia and Russians? Do they see Russia as it is? What are their prejudices?

Most foreigners do not see Russia as it is today. Unfortunately there are a lot of prejudices:

- old stories from the CCCP (USSR) times,

- lack of trust both for people and companies,

- big concern regarding mafia,

- mahorca smelling dirty restaurants and hotels.

5. How adequately do Russians perceive foreigners? What are their prejudices?

Here the situation is better then in previous question.

Many Russians have big thoughts (too big) about foreigners and it is considered exclusive to have foreign business relations.

On the other hand many Russian "up-comers" can be rude and impolite towards foreigners. They are pride and want to show their position.

6. If you compared the scale of prejudice of the Russians for foreigners and that of foreigners for Russians, who takes the lead?


7. If you were asked for advice to a westerner intending to conduct business in Russia, what would you suggest?

Same advise as in any market:

- go out and learn your market

- find out your potential

- decide how you should position yourself at the market.

8. Do you think that the Russian elites realise their responsibility for the future of their country?


9. Finally, please continue the associative array for the following words: a) a European businessman; b) a Russian businessman.

a) a European businessman: closed minded, old fashioned, pub customer.

b) a Russian businessman: a "youngster" eager to learn more.



These interviews are about 'human factor' in Russian business, those little somethings outside the scope of law which can dramatically change the way business is done in or with Russia.