10 Communication tips for doing business in Russia

10 Communication tips for doing business in Russia

Russians speak quite matter-of-factly and are generally comfortable with directness. In written communication, try to get to the point with the first phrase. Rarely will a business owner or CEO read a letter to the end unless he or she has seen valuable information in the first 3-4 sentences. Be able to fit your key idea into a short letter.

In Russia, it takes longer than 24 hours to respond to emails. Give your contact person 3 days to respond if this is your first contact.

Don’t text WhatsApp messages at night — google what time it is in the country where your partner is. Late messages are acceptable only with close business partners whose late working hours you know.

Russians respect work and life balance — don’t text business messages after 7 pm and at the weekend.

In face-to-face communication follow etiquette rules — give a compliment for women, if you met at the airport, offer to help with the suitcase, etc. — this will break the ice.

Topics of corruption, oligarchs, shortcomings in the social system, and criticism of foreign or domestic policies are not acceptable. Russians like to criticize their government and authorities, but they don’t like to do it with citizens of foreign countries. In Russia, there is a saying — don’t wash your dirty linen in public. Don’t discuss Russian internal problems with business partner.

Russians respect math and do not like lengthy discussions at the first stage of negotiations. Show where is money in your proposal without long talks, then go to the details. Talks about philanthropy and green economy begin after the primitive accumulation of capital — not relevant to Russia.

In doing business in Russia, time is money. Not regarding the hour price, but because environment in Russia has historically changed quickly. I think that’s why Russian businessmen are quick-thinking, savvy, and improvisational. Russians have high financial discipline in closing deals and very friendly business culture if you arouse interest and trust.

Don’t speak about vodka. Russia has not been among the leaders in alcohol consumption for a long time, and joking about vodka with unfamiliar people make them thinking about your backwardness. During the negotiations Russians drink water and green tea / coffee.

As a rule Russians are distrustful and unsmiling at the beginning of communication. But if you win their trust, you will find out that they are very warm-hearted people, ready to help, with a beautiful soul, traditional values, very sincere and straightforward.

If you plan to work in Russia, set up WhatsApp. It is the most widespread messenger in Russia with 76 million users. They don’t use Telegram for business chats, only for reading channels.

Russia is a high-context culture. To be understood correctly, try to be specific.

Observe and listen carefully before you speak.