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Doing Business in Russia

Contributed by Capital Legal Services

Business environment

2015 versus 2014: changes impacted how business is conducted

2015 was a challenging year for Russia, bringing significant changes to the country’s macroeconomy and serious restructuring of national legislation.

Particularly, sanctions imposed on and by Russia gave a strong impulse to localisation procedures, development of local production facilities and agricultural projects, and active involvement of investors in different areas of the Russian market. The state also adopted favourable terms for investments in infrastructure projects.

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Legal market overview

Sanctions imposed on Russia as a result of the Ukrainian crisis continue to have a notable impact on the Russian legal market, significantly limiting new instructions in the corporate, commercial and capital markets spheres, and increasing demand for sanctions-related advice.

Nonetheless, the market continues to see a steady flow of instructions from the CIS region and Russian state-owned entities, and there is also increased interest from investors in China and the Far East. Firms have consequently picked up a number of instructions from Chinese banks looking to finance transactions and projects in Russia or establish joint ventures.

Dispute resolution remains a highly active area, with bankruptcy and restructuring cases being particularly prevalent; the trend has also extended to the banking and finance sector, which has seen a significant amount of restructuring-related instructions arise. Energy and natural resources practices continue to see a steady stream of mandates, though sanctions on major oil and gas companies – along with falling oil prices – have made the environment increasingly difficult for firms and investors alike.

Amendments to legislation in the corporate, commercial and antimonopoly spheres have increased demand for analysis and commentary on the part of law firms; the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS)’s introduction of the fourth antimonopoly package is among the major recent amendments to competition law, though the full impact of this remains to be seen. There is also an increasing trend towards the use of Russian law to govern domestic transactions, with talks of proposed legislative changes being held to potentially allow its long-term, widespread use.

Linklaters CIS, Clifford Chance, Herbert Smith Freehills CIS LLP and Dentons are among the major international firms that continue to have a strong presence in the Russian market, while Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners, Pepeliaev Group and Monastyrsky, Zyuba, Stepanov & Partners are among the top Russian firms. K&L Gates LLP closed its operations in Russia.

Firms in the spotlight

Goltsblat BLP, the Russian practice of Berwin Leighton Paisner

Goltsblat BLP is the Russian practice of Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP), an award-winning international law firm with over 800 lawyers in 11 offices in major commercial and financial centres – London, Moscow, Abu Dhabi, Beijing, Berlin, Brussels, Dubai, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Paris and Singapore. With a team of 100 Russian, English and US-qualified lawyers based in Moscow, Goltsblat BLP is one of the biggest international law firms in Russia/CIS.

Yakovlev & Partners

Yakovlev & Partners Law Group started 25 years ago. Marketing, trading, engineering and consulting agency (MaTEC) was the first private legal firm in the USSR to be established by a group of lawyers with significant experience of work in state-owned institutions. In 1995, it was renamed into MaTEC. Yakovlev & Partners. The principal area of practice was legal advice to Russian private companies in Russia and abroad.

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Legal Developments in Russia

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