September 01, 2013

The Latest Imports

Russia is a resource-based economy. Fully 80 percent of its exports are in oil, natural gas, timber and metals. But few foreigners doing business in Russia work for Gazprom or Lukoil. In fact, many self-starting foreigners are running rather diverse and interesting ventures that have little or nothing to do with natural resources.

The Russian business environment turns basic commerce into an ordeal. And while ever-changing laws, poor infrastructure, and widespread corruption have caused many ambitious expatriates to throw up their hands and leave, often minus their investment, some intrepid expats cannot be discouraged.

None of the five entrepreneurs profiled below came to Russia intent on starting a business. But, after working for others or exploring the market, they all saw an opportunity and seized it, signing themselves up for an adventure course jousting with the bureaucracy.

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