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Business In Russia

            In any discussion of the broad topic Business in Russia, it would be remiss to fail to illuminate both a historic as well as the current business climate as referenced post-perestroika, as a pretext for understanding current areas of opportunity within that country, principally, manufacturing, agriculture, mining and services. Interestingly, according to Edwards and Polonsky, global companies initially entered Russia in growing numbers between 1992, when President Boris Yeltsin instituted a policy of economic shock therapy, and August 1998, when the Russian economy collapsed. Since 1995 Russia's" true economy had been growing, its inflation had declined, and its citizens" standard of living had been steadily improving. During this period also, international companies doing business in Russia experienced growing consumer and industrial demand for their products and services. As a result, they had increased their exposure and commitment to the Russian market. However, in August 1998, these positive trends reversed direction and the gross domestic product in Russia had declined 9.9% by the end of September and had declined 18% by the end of that year. Inflation shot up to 38% in September 1998 and 84% by the end of that year (97). For the first time ever, Russia experienced real unemployment, as the percentage of unemployed persons reached 11.5% nationwide and 10 % in Moscow. Russia's economic collapse resulted in a 183% devaluation of the ruble in less than two months. By July 1999, one U.S. dollar could be exchanged for twenty-four rubles as opposed to six rubles in the month before the collapse, a devaluation of 300% in one year. Accordingly, this meant that prices of imported materials, goods and services skyrocketed, and because wages did not increase by much during this same period, demands for products and services of international companies operating in Russia was drastically affected requiring management to adjust to the new realities (The Russian Province, 117).

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