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Legal market overview

The ongoing changes to the Russian civil code, aimed at promoting the use of Russian law as a basis for transactions, remain a hot topic in the market, with Russian law firms having worked together in an attempt to influence the outcome of the debate in the hope of boosting the attractiveness of Russian law to businesses. English law is currently widely used as it is viewed as a reliable basis for the enforcement of parties’ rights. The most prominent Russian firms have enhanced their English law expertise through associations with international law firms, and have also been able to recruit high-profile English-qualified practitioners.

The corporate and M&A market was dominated by a few headline-grabbing deals, including Russia’s largest-ever transaction as Rosneft acquired the stakes of BP and Alfa-Access-Renova in TNK-BP for a combined $56bn. The size and complexity of the deal as well as the number of parties involved kept a number of corporate practices busy in an otherwise quiet year for M&A generally; Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, Linklaters CIS, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, White & Case LLC and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP were all involved.

The capital markets were once again dominated by debt offerings, with only a few high-profile equity offerings made. The banking, energy and real estate sectors were the main drivers of business activity in the country, and state-owned oil giant Rosneft was particularly acquisitive as it consolidated its market position and expanded out of Russia. 2013 also saw the rise of the Russian banks as major players in the market, with Sberbank and VTB Bank particularly active, making competition between law firms for places on their legal panels all the more intense.

The dispute resolution arena, in which Russian law firms compete on an equal footing with much larger UK and US counterparts, saw a number of significant developments including the relocation to St Petersburg and subsequent merger of Russia’s Supreme Court and Supreme Commercial Court.

Press releases

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to

Legal Developments in Russia

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to
  • Requirements have been approved for healthcare organisations which conduct clinical trials of medica

    For the attention of: heads of healthcare organisations which conduct clinical trials of medical products as well as R&D and registration units of producers/distributors of medical products.
  • VEGAS LEX organizes pre-roadshow and advises Moscow-Kazan High Speed Rail Project

    On March 4-6, the VEGAS LEX law firm has organized a pre-roadshow for its client, High Speed Rail Lines, supported by the InfraONE First Infrastructure Company, to promote the Moscow-Kazan High Speed Railway project. Moscow-Kazan HSR is part of a larger high-speed service project to connect Moscow with the Urals city of Yekaterinburg.
  • Russian Business Week 2014: VEGAS LEX on fighting corruption and corporate fraud

    On March 18, 2014, the annual conference Elimination of Administrative Hurdles, Optimization of State Control & Anti-Corruption took place as part of the Russian Business Week 2014, supported by the VEGAS LEX law firm.
  • VEGAS LEX attends MIPIM 2014 property fair

    The VEGAS LEX law firm participated in MIPIM 2014, the world's largest real estate exhibition and conference taking place on March 11-14 in Cannes, France.
  • Russian Business Week 2014: VEGAS LEX on legal risks in heat supply business

    On March 18, 2014, the VEGAS LEX law firm and the Council of Power Producers non-profit partnership held a conference Heat Supply Reform in Light of Investors' and Government's Strategic Interests, as part of Russian Business Week 2014.
  • Russian Business Week 2014: VEGAS LEX on environmental and industrial security

    The VEGAS LEX law firm supported the conference Environmental and Industrial Security: Business and Government as Risk Mitigators, held on March 17 as part of the Russian Business Week, an annual event run by the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs. The conference usually brings together major Russian industrialists and public officials.
  • Recent Clarifications of the Court Practice on Recognizing Contracts Non-concluded

    The Presidium of the Russian Supreme Commercial Court (hereinafter - SCC) published the Informational letter dated 25 February 2014 г. No.165 on Review of case law on recognizing contracts non-concluded. The SCC confirmed several previously established legal positions of the Presidium and recommended some common approaches for deciding the respective court cases, such as the parties' will and intentions priority over the form of their relations, focus on saving of existing relationship of the parties and paternalism of the judges.

    Elena Sokolovskaya, Head of Antimonopoly Regulation; Sergey Spasennov, Partner, Head of St. Petersburg office; Egor Lysenko, Head of Krasnoyarsk office, Pepeliaev Group The State Duma is preparing to consider in the second reading a draft law  that will significantly amend Federal Law No. 57-FZ ‘On the procedure for making foreign investments in business entities of strategic importance to ensure national defence and state security'. The draft law was passed in the first reading in May 2013 and is scheduled to be considered further in April 2014. The goal of new amendments is to simplify even more the control mechanism, eliminate extra administrative barriers for foreign investors and to create favourabe investment climate. For the second reading of the draft law, the Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (the ‘FAS') prepared a number of amendments that have not been approved yet by the Russian Government (these amendments are posted on the FAS's official web site ). Below are the main provisions of the draft law and amendments to it.

    Andrey Tereschenko, Partner (Tax); Alexey Konevsky, Partner (Real Estate and Construction); Egor Lysenko, Head of Siberian office in Krasnoyarsk; Sergey Spasennov, Partner and Head of Saint Petersburg office Preparations have started for staging the World Winter Universiade 2019 in Krasnoyarsk. There are several issues that companies face when major international sport events are staged in Russia. On 14 January 2014, the Russian President signed Decree No. 16 ‘On preparing for the XXIX World Winter Universiade 2019 to be staged in Krasnoyarsk' (‘Universiade 2019'). This decree is a framework document addressed, first of all, to the Russian Government, which is charged with carrying out a set of organisational actions to prepare for Universiade 2019, as well as to executive authorities of constituent entities of the Russian Federation, which are recommended to participate in carrying them out. In particular, the Russian Government needs to: establish an organising committee; develop and carry out, in cooperation with the government of the Krasnoyarsk Region, measures aimed at preparing and staging Universiade 2019; determine the list of capital construction facilities belonging to the Russian state, which are required to prepare and stage Universiade 2019 with financial support from the federal budget; assist with covering in the state mass media how Universiade 2019 is being prepared and staged.
  • Does the Russian government really need foreign investment?

    Alexey Konevsky, Partner, Pepeliaev Group The Russian government has set for itself improvement of the investment and business climate in the country as its primary goal. A fairly wide range of measures and efforts are being taken with this in mind, not least in cooperating with investors and the business community. Regrettably, they are not always consistent when they put this into action. One example is the draft bill on transactions with real estate (the "Bill"), which Russia's Ministry of Economic Development published in November 2013 . The Bill restricts real estate transactions by foreign individuals and legal entities as well as stateless persons. Russian legal entities will face similar restrictions if they are more than 50% foreign owned. The Bill envisages that there will be a permission procedure for such persons to be able to enter into transactions with immovable property in Russia. They will have to obtain permission from a specially authorized government body if they wish to pursue a transaction aimed at gaining ownership title to or the right to use immovable property.

Press Releases in Russia

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to