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Geschäftsreise auf Englisch - Knigge für Russland

Schlagwörter: Geschäftsreise auf Englisch, Englisch Geschäftsreise, Business Trip Englisch, Knigge für Russland, Russia

In 1712, the Russian Tsar Peter the Great moved the capital of the Russian Empire from Moscow to Saint Petersburg. Having historically isolated itself from Europe and Asia with buffer countries, the move represented a new vision for Russia that extended the country’s arms to the West. It lasted 200 years. Then, in 1918, the communists moved the capital back to its historical location Moscow. The USSR returned to the “old ways”, isolating itself from the rest of the world not only culturally, but also in business and in religion.

Importance to the world
Russia has long been regarded as a trouble-maker. This reputation has been exacerbated by the Soviet regime’s tight-lipped, isolationist and often defiant attitudes toward the West. But it’s difficult to judge whether the country’s reputation is well-deserved or if Russia has simply been protecting its legitimate, long-term interests all along. Consider, for example, that Russia:

is the largest country in the world with more than one eighth of the world’s land mass;

owns the world’s largest reserves of natural resources including minerals and energy;

has the largest oil and gas reserves and is the largest supplier of these energy sources in the world; and

is home to one fourth of the world’s available fresh water.

When doing business with Russia, it’s therefore critical to go into any relationship expecting to encounter interests that seem to contradict Western interests entirely. Be tolerant and sensitive to these interests. From your Russian counterpart’s perspective, they may represent legitimate concerns. Avoid writing such “contrary thinking” off to an attempt to jockey for power.

The impact of communism
Because communism blocked access to outside information, Russians developed the skill to make very accurate decisions based on intuition. The habit is deeply ingrained, and as a result – even when presented with objective data – most Russians tend to process information and come to decisions subjectively. If you need to be convincing, be sure to include subjective elements in your argumentation.
Despite their relatively new freedom, Russians as a general rule are still used to having decisions made for them. A strong, confident manager therefore usually reduces anxiety in a Russian workforce.
During communist times, people in power were considered dangerous. Who could know, after all, what such a person would report upon hearing a complaint or upon seeing behaviour he found unacceptable? Many Russian employees are, as a result, loath to complain and may even avoid all unnecessary contact with their managers. It’s often the case that a Russian employee will quit before his manager learns that there is a problem in the workplace. Managers must thus dig deeply and proactively to expose and correct problems before they surface after it’s already too late.

Equality and racism
During communist times, women and men were legal equals. This did not reflect – and still does not reflect – reality. Russian women still face the usual discrimination in the workforce and are regularly confronted with lower pay and the glass ceiling. Sexual harassment is also still prevalent in business and government, but new laws are working to counter this. Be aware that the opinions or power of women may not be properly respected in negotiation.

An additional issue to be aware of is a prejudice against people with darker skin. Most Russians associate terrorism with areas like Georgia and Chechnya, and the people there have a Mediterranean appearance. People with darker skin may therefore have trouble getting hired or being taken seriously in business negotiations.

Behavioural notes
Meetings

With regard to business meetings or conference calls, you should always be on time. Don’t be surprised, however, if one or more of your Russian counterparts is up to 30 minutes late. Russians consider patience and not punctuality a virtue, and you may be tested. Be punctual, and show your patience.

Greetings
The mode of address in Russia is formal, as it is in Germany. Always use the other person’s professional title if it has been provided. If not, use Mr or Ms and the surname. If you met a married couple whose last name is Romanov, the man’s surname will be Romanov and his wife’s Romanova.
When greeting each other, Russians usually shake hands and state their full names. Phrases like “How are you?” and “Pleased to meet you!” are used only at very formal or state occasions.
The best gifts when visiting someone’s home are flowers, liquor and gourmet food. For business, distinctive gifts representative of your home town or country are ideal.

Negotiating
As a rule, Russians regard compromise as a show of weakness. Don’t be surprised, then, to see your Russian counterpart just sit there, not willing to budge on any issue. Similarly, you should not budge just to get things moving. Offer alternatives, but don’t compromise unless it’s by mutual agreement.
One favourite trick of Russian business people is to offer you 51% of a venture, but don’t be fooled. Contracts often require unanimous agreement for major decisions, so this 51% means nothing.
Be aware that, because of communism, yes and no have become confused. Most people will say no to everything because doing so has always been historically safe. Today, some business people will say yes even though they have no authority to do so. It’s an attempt to extend the duration of the relationship in the hopes of deepening it or establishing additional ones.

Behaviours to avoid

Wear only the most conservative business clothing. A pastel shirt with a white collar, for example, will make a poor impression. Choose European rather than American styles.

Never stand with your hands in your pockets.

Never keep your coat with you. If there is a cloak room, always check it.

Never speak or laugh loudly in public.

Schlagwörter: Geschäftsreise auf Englisch, Englisch Geschäftsreise, Business Trip Englisch, Knigge für Russland, Russia

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