Risk Analysis: Russia

Russia has been heralded as an up-and-coming economy for a while now. With increasing GDP, inclusion in the BRIC alliance, and winning the draw to host both the Olympics and the World Cup, it’s no wonder that, on paper, Russia seems like a new economic super power. But is this the reality of the situation? Is Russia really business-friendly? The answer is a solid no. There are many risks involved in international business, but Russia, despite the good statistics, is a mess not ripe for foreign investment yet.

St. Petersburg, source: Ivan Smelov

The greatest risk in doing business in Russia is the corrupted socioeconomic environment that puts companies at a disadvantage as they are forced to pay out of their pockets. The more capital you have, or the more you expand, the more bribes your company will have to pay. Most of the affected firms are brick-and-mortars, who need to seek licenses and leases through corrupt bureaucratic agencies. Online businesses are, fortunately, less susceptible to this risk because they are harder to target, even if their servers are on Russian soil.

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Minimalism has been all the buzz for the last few years. We’ve all noticed the shift to flat design, the simplification and decluttering of websites and apps alike. But the movement goes deeper than appearances.

A minimalist’s dream house; source.

To older generations, especially those who survived the Great Depression, accumulation of things was equal to wealth. Money could come and go with the economic rollercoaster, but things would last long after the banks collected their loans. In today’s globalized world, obtaining things isn’t hard. Increasingly efficient logistics make anything we want available quickly and cheaply. Buying and accumulating things isn’t what it used to be.

Not only that, but we have digitized our consumption. We buy apps, ebooks, and mp3s instead of hauling to the store to buy a physical copy; it’s more cost efficient and hassle-free. Millennials are undoubtedly more environmentally-conscientious than previous ones, and care about the environmental impact of their consumption. That could mean more DIY, upcycling, self-sufficiency, anti-consumption, green habits, and frugality.

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