This autumn, the consulting firm PWC conducted a survey based on interviews with corporate representatives to get some notion of how Russia’s business environment has changed since the early 1990s. The “fathers and sons” survey comprises the views of 1,000 representatives of various-sized firms across Russia. The study specifically looked at the generational differences between younger respondents (born 1980−1991) and older respondents (born 1957−1963).
About half of respondents said doing business in Russia had become harder than three decades ago. Business was complicated by factors such as administrative and regulatory barriers. Government control and inspection, as well as corruption, are also viewed to limit growth opportunities in the corporate sector. Nearly 70 % of respondents (and 80 % of “fathers”) reported that corruption has worsened or remained about the same in recent decades. Most acknowledged improvements in such areas as competition, ease of starting a business and access to credit.
The survey also found that the risks facing entrepreneurs have changed in recent decades. In the early 1990s, most respondents said that the core business risks were getting murdered, physically assaulted or threats to family. The biggest fears today are damage to business reputation, imprisonment or forced emigration.
Only about half of all respondents believe that Russia’s corporate sector will develop in a positive direction over the next 30 years. The younger generation, however, was slightly more optimistic. The most favourable outlooks were for the IT sector, energy production and trade. Sundowner branches included agriculture, healthcare and scientific research.