Russia Risk Assessment Country Guide

Doing Business in Russia

The largest country in the world by land mass, Russia is also one of the most populous nation’s in the world, with a strong economy and extensive natural resources. The nation is home to large mineral and energy reserves, including oil and natural gas. Given its diverse nature, attractive features and steady financial sector, Russia may be a desirable location for many expats and foreign travelers.

However, the country  is not without its risks. The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises against all travel to Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan, as well as several districts in Stavropol Krai. Only essential travel should be undertaken to North Ossetia, Karachai-Cherkessia and Kabardino-Balkaria.

You should be wary of any potential dangers while in Russia, and consider comprehensive international insurance prior to leaving your home country. Having the appropriate level of coverage can limit the financial impact of life abroad.

  • Health
  • Safety & Security
  • Terrorism
  • Business Customs

On September 18, 2015, the CDC released an Alert – Level 2 for travel to Ukraine due to 2 reported cases of polio. Polio is a disease that attacks the nervous system and is spread by person-to-person contact. Before traveling, be sure to receive a polio vaccination.

Before leaving for Russia, you should discuss all possible vaccinations and other preventative measures with your primary care physician. While Russia's health care facilities are adequate, more serious illnesses or injuries may become expensive to treat.

Russia has a reciprocal health care agreement in place with certain Western countries, which means nationals of those countries can receive a certain amount of free treatment in the country. However, this treatment will not include many common health problems, so medical insurance is still recommended. Food poisoning, tuberculosis, rabies and tick-borne encephalitis have all been reported in Russia.

Clements Worldwide offers GlobalCare® health insurance. This policy includes USD 5 million in health care benefits, and allows you to choose any number of doctors across the world. Clements coverage enables  flexible payment plans, choice of deductible and optional War and Terrorism coverage. This coverage extends your policy to include illness or injury caused by an act of war and terrorism. 

Many expats living in Russia carry insurance to cover medical travel, in case required services are not immediately available. A Medical Evacuation and Repatriation insurance policy from Clements covers expenses to transport you to a capable medical facility in case a local medical center isn’t able to provide adequate treatment.

Call us today at +1.202.872.0060 or 800.872.0067 or email to discuss your organization’s travel needs tailored to considerations involved while operating in Russia.

Source: UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Clements Worldwide 

Contact a Clements Representative for Insurance Solutions

The political climate, while stable overall, can turn violent at times. Rallies are common in Moscow, St. Petersburg and other locations. You should be cautious near any large gatherings or public events, and avoid all demonstrations. 

On November 24, 2015, Turkey shot down a Russian warplane for invading its airspace. At least one of the two pilots were killed. Turkish officials said that the plane ignored repeated warnings as it crossed over into its airspace from Syria. Russian President Vladimir Putin called the act a "stab in the back." He also said that there will be "significant consequences."

Opposition leader Boris Nemstov, a vocal critic of President Vladimir Putin, was assassinated 200 meters away from the Kremlin walls on February 27, 2015. Days after the shooting, thousands gathered and marched in Moscow to show their outrage. Another prominent Putin critic, Anna Politkovskaya, who was a reporter for the independent Novaya Gazea and human rights activist, was assassinated in her apartment in Moscow by five men in 2006.   

The North Caucasus is a dangerous region. The security situation is volatile at best, and Russian authorities sometimes limit short-term travel. The risks are multiplied in this area, so you should use extreme care when moving around the region.

Road conditions are typically of an acceptable standard within major cities in Russia, but outside of these areas conditions can decrease markedly. Police have also been known to stop motorists for random checks. 

Clements offers international car insurance, which includes Physical Damage, Third Party Liability, and Excess Liability coverage. With flexible deductible options and fast claims processing, your policy will provide coverage for your vehicle fleet whether it’s on the road, parked or transported abroad.

An optional Political Violence extension is also recommended, which broadens the coverage to include strikes, riots, malicious damage, sabotage, war, terrorism or civil unrest. 

Call us today at +1.202.872.0060 or 800.872.0067 or email to discuss your organization’s travel needs tailored to considerations involved while operating in Russia.

Source: UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Clements Worldwide 

Contact a Clements Representative for Insurance Solutions

There is a high threat of terrorism in Russia. Attacks may be indiscriminate, and could target locations visited by expats and tourists. You should be cautious in all public places, including transportation hubs. 

On October 9, 2016 police engaged in a shootout with militants attempting to carry out attacks in Chechnya. Eight militants and four officers were killed in the clash.

On August 19. 2016, two policemen were injured by a terrorist attack. The 2 attackers and 4 other terrorists were subsequently killed in a counter-terrorism raid.

On March 29, 2016, a bomb targeting a Police Cortege killed one and injured 2 others in Makhachkala.

On February 15, 2016, a car bomb killed at least 2 people and 17 others were injured in Derbent, a city in the Republic of Dagestan. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.

On December 29, 2015 in Derbent, unidentified gunman opened fire on a group of local residents who were visiting a viewing platform at the fortress in Dagestan, southern Russia, killing one and injuring 11. The visitors included two border guards, one of whom was killed in the attack. No group claimed responsibility.

Overall, attacks are on the rise in the republics of Dagestan, Ingushetia and Kabardino-Balkaria, as well as North Caucasus and other regions. One incident in January 2011 at the Domodedovo airport in Moscow killed 37 people. 

A War and Terrorism insurance policy from Clements offers the right coverage against the risks of civil unrest, war, riots, looting and acts of terrorism.

There is also a high threat of kidnapping in some areas throughout Russia, specifically within the North Caucasus region. Westerners have often been targeted. Hostage crises have occurred, such as the incidents at a school in Beslan in 2004 and a Moscow theater in 2002. 

A Kidnap and Ransom insurance policy from Clements ensures financial assistance following a kidnapping, such as independent investigations, negotiations, and the arrangement and delivery of funds.

Call us today at +1.202.872.0060 or 800.872.0067 or email to discuss your organization’s travel needs tailored to considerations involved while operating in Russia.

Source: UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Clements Worldwide 

Contact a Clements Representative for Insurance Solutions

Russia Business Customs

Most European countries have a lot in common when it comes to business etiquette; however Russia has its own set of customs that are unique to the continent. Here are a few tips and tricks about the business customs in Russia.

Dining Etiquette

Many business meetings are done over meals, and dining etiquette varies drastically from country-to-country. Your local dining etiquette may be considered offensive in Russia, so make sure you do your research ahead of time.

Doing Business in Russia

  • If you are invited for a meal is arrive on time.
  • If attending dinner at a family residence, it is appropriate to bring a gift, such as a bottle of wine, dessert, or a bouquet of flowers.
  • Make sure to remove your shoes before entering.
  • Dress well regardless of where you are gathering, as office attire can be seen as a sign of respect.
  • Offer your services in preparation or clean-up - and insist on helping, even if they deny your request.

Business Meeting Etiquette

In other cases, your professional meeting won't take place over food or in someone's home. This brings about a different atmosphere than before. Traditional business meetings in Russia are very formal.

Like before, you must always be on time. While it is important that you are punctual for any business meetings in Russia, it is not uncommon for your Russian counterparts to be late to the meeting (sometimes on purpose). This is viewed as a test of patience, and you should not expect an apology. Do not take it personally and try not to show any type of attitude or frustration when this occurs.

Your Russian counterparts also appreciate patience, so your discussions may be slower than in the U.S., for example. It can also be smart to hold off on applying pressure, as this can come off as rude. You should also expect Russian business people to abruptly walk out of the meeting as a negotiating tactic. As a foreigner, you should realize that "Final Offers" are often not actually the end of the negotiations and that often times the outcome will be more beneficial and attractive if you can hold out.

There is a Russian term meaning "connections" or "influences. It is extremely difficult to do business in Russia without help from a local. To help with this, gifts, money or other items are often a good idea when doing business in Russia. When making business connections, make sure to have plenty of business cards with double sides of information. One side should be printed in English, the other side in Russian.

As an expatriate working abroad, you will need to know about the business customs of any country you will be doing business in. Learn more about the business customs of Japan.

Japanese Business Etiquette Tips

Call us today at +1.202.872.0060 or 800.872.0067 or e-mail to discuss your needs.