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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

Russia’s turbulent economic climate continues to have a marked impact on instructions and deal flow, and work volume has been notably affected by sanctions, low oil and commodity prices, and restricted access to international capital markets. Sanctions are now being treated as a long-term development by law firms, which have made significant efforts to plan around the restrictions and develop new products and services to compensate for a decline in traditional mandates.

Despite this, the market attracts considerable mandates from the CIS region and Russian state-owned enterprises, while investor interest from China and the Far East has been a notable trend throughout 2016. Chinese banks and private equity funds have made significant investments into Russian projects and joint ventures, particularly within the infrastructure, oil and gas, consumer goods and agricultural sectors.

Dispute resolution matters have accounted for a sizeable proportion of firms’ workloads, particularly bankruptcy and white-collar crime issues, with criminal defence earmarked as an area of practice that has significantly expanded over the last year. Competition disputes before the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) remain prevalent, as do disputes regarding IP infringement, shareholder disagreements and debt recovery.

The energy, projects and PPP space generates a healthy flow of work, though market restrictions have created a challenging environment for firms and investors alike. As a result, there has been increased demand for regulatory and compliance advice across all areas of practice.

Linklaters, Clifford Chance, Herbert Smith Freehills CIS LLP and Dentons are among the major international firms with a strong presence in the Russian market, while Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners, ALRUD Law Firm, Pepeliaev Group and Monastyrsky, Zyuba, Stepanov & Partners are some of the go-to Russian firms.

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