Overseas Business Risk – Russia

Information on key security and political risks which UK businesses may face when operating in Russia.

Political and Economic

Russia remains an important trading partner for the UK. The UK exported £7.6 billion of goods and services to Russia in 2012.

The UK Government, and our international partners including the EU, have condemned Russia’s recent interventions in Ukraine and are working hard to bring about a peaceful resolution to the crisis. We want to see de-escalation and shall continue to bring to bear appropriate diplomatic, economic and other pressures in order to make that point. We are committed to working with our international partners to assure future stability and prosperity in the region and we are therefore keeping under close review our overall, including economic, engagement with Russia. Some bilateral cooperation and trade support activity is being affected.

Read the latest information for UK companies.

If in doubt, businesses should consult the BIS helpline on 0300 456 3565. UK businesses should be mindful of the potential risks created by the crisis and continue to pay close attention to the Russia sections of the UKTI and FCO websites.

Human Rights

Russia is a country of concern for human rights issues. See the FCO Annual Human Rights Report on Russia for more details.

Bribery and Corruption

Bribery is illegal. It is an offence for British nationals or someone who is ordinarily resident in the UK, a body incorporated in the UK or a Scottish partnership, to bribe anywhere in the world. In addition, a commercial organisation carrying on a business in the UK can be liable for the conduct of a person who is neither a UK national or resident in the UK or a body incorporated or formed in the UK. In this case it does not matter whether the acts or omissions which form part of the offence take place in the UK or elsewhere.

Corruption is endemic in Russia and is a major concern for businesses operating there. The Russian authorities are making some efforts to curb corruption and bribery, However Transparency International ranks Russia 127 out of 177 countries in its Corruption Perceptions Index in 2013.

Visit the Business Anti-Corruption portal which provides advice and guidance about corruption in Russia.

Read the information provided on our Bribery and corruption page.

Terrorism Threat

There is a high threat from terrorism. Although there is no indication that British nationals or interests have been specific targets, attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by foreigners. You should remain vigilant in all public places, including tourist sites and crowded places, particularly where access is not controlled (eg open-air events and markets) and in major transport hubs. Previous attacks have targeted transport infrastructure, including airports, buses, trains and Metro systems. Further attacks are likely, and could take place anywhere in Russia.

See the FCO Travel Advice for more information.

Read the information provided on our Terrorism threat page

Protective Security Advice

The Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure also provides protective security advice to businesses

There are protective security issues attached to doing business in Russia; business people need to be conscious of the following activities of the local security service (FSB):

  • IT attack against office computers, laptops, PDAs and other electronic devices.

  • Physical, audio and video surveillance.

  • Approaches to staff.

  • Interception of telephone calls (landline and mobile), texts, emails, fax and post.

  • Searches of offices, homes, vehicles and (especially) hotel rooms (including safes).

For specific advice email MoscowBusinessSecurity@fco.gov.uk

Read the information provided on our Protective security advice page

Intellectual Property

IP rights are territorial, that is they only give protection in the countries where they are granted or registered. If you are thinking about trading internationally, then you should consider registering your IP rights in your export markets.

Read the information provided on our Intellectual Property page.

Organised Crime

Read the information provided on our Organised crime page.

More information is available on overseas business risk in a range of markets.

Countries: Russia
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