What are the main differences between German and Russian business/law cultures?
Well, there are a lot of differences. The main one in my experience is personal business relationships, which in Russia are essential if you want to be successful. Personal trust plays as large a roll as legal formulations in your contracts. That means you have to be present and in permanent contact with your clients and potential partners. Efficiency and reliability plays a very large roll for building up strong and tough teams. Without a strong team you canât be successful in Russia.
What are the main differences that you have noticed in terms of living here?
Living in Moscow means living a very intense life, and every day is full of surprises. You can find a lot of help; where to go, how to spend your time, but you also have to fight every day so as not to lose time. Later you will learn that Russia is really large and living in Russia is not the same as living in Moscow.
Is it important for a German businessperson to live in Russia in order to understand the way of doing things here?
That is absolutely essential. There are many things here that canât be understood from a distance and from outside. As I mentioned before, success in business in Russia means personally contacting people here, every day. And one important additional issue: you have to speak Russian. The language is not only a means of communication; this is a matter of culture and getting to know the people. These things cannot be learnt though translations.
What do you love and hate about Moscow?
I love Moscow for the challenges I can find here every day, and for the large spectrum of the people I can meet here. This is the living and working place of a lot of my friends, and they are mostly very proud of the changes that have taken place in Moscow over the last 20 years. I hate the traffic jams and sometimes still the anti-service behaviour and the bureaucracy.
Where do you go in Moscow; what do you do, when you want to be reminded of Germany?
I visit every event of the Wirtschaftsclub Russland e.V. That gives me not only interesting input; but also though real networking new ideas are generated, as are meetings with colleagues from Germany. But sometimes I also love to visit a German restaurant, my favourite is still Paulaner Brauhaus at Paveltskaya.