David Cameron has warned Russia that corruption, bureaucracy and an inconsistent approach to the rule of law was holding back trade relations with Britain.


I\’ve had a shipment stuck in customs for a month now. They\’re wanting a bribe. And the thing is, I\’d be entirely happy to pay such a bribe: if I had known about it when agreeing prices back when I ordered the material.

Just a cost of doing business, you know?

It\’s the inconsistency that causes the problems. And my little jaunt away for a few days was the beginning of setting up a not from Russia supply chain for my material. A pity, because I\’ve worked for 15 years with my suppliers. They\’re the world experts at what they do. And now I\’m struggling mightily to cut them entirely out of my supply chain because I simply cannot trust the governing authorities in Russia. Cannot trust the law, the customs, the officials of the State.

And of course it isn\’t only me taking the same sort of decision. It\’s getting to the point that no one at all will source an essential or time dependent input from that country, no matter how good it is or how fine the price.

Something which will, of course, entirely fuck over Russian industry and leave them dependent only upon substitutable and low value added commodity exports. Not the way you build a rich economy that.

3 thoughts on “Surprise!”

  1. Not to mention that you probably still have enough of a connection (ie s12(4)(a) ) to the UK to be caught by s6(2)(b) Bribery Act 2010.

    I note case study 1 in the official guidance pretty much covers your point.

  2. And the fact that you were in Germany means that you are looking to substitute a German supplier for the Russian one? And one is unlikely to be asked to pay bribes by a German official or company?

    Funny thing though, and a different industry (although a more visible one, which is why I choose it). Go into eastern Europe, you find that British and French retailers (Tesco and Carrefour) have been hugely aggressive in opening new superstores. You find them throughout Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, etc. However, once you get to what might be described as the Russian sphere of influence (Ukraine, Moldova, Russia itself – roughly the borders of the former USSR) the British and French companies vanish completely. You can find the odd amusing sentence of explanation. “Carrefour entered Russian market in Summer of 2009. In October 2009, only a month after it opened its second hypermarket in the country, Carrefour announced it was exiting Russia”. You do wonder exactly what happened in those couple of months.

    However, the German retailers (Metro, Praktiker) are extremely visible and have built large chains of stores throughout Russia and its sphere of influence. The Germans are not very successful where Carrefour and Tesco tread (because Carrefour and Tesco are simply better at supply lines and running stores than Metro are) but they have been more willing or able to do what is necessary to build businesses in Russia.

    Okay, it is no secret that the Germans have done all kinds of dubious deals with the Russians. And also that the Germans have traditionally had fewer qualms about paying bribes than certain other nationalities. But one does not generally expect to be asked to pay a bribe by a German.

    You might conclude that the German position is that you pay bribes where you have to, but you punish people who ask for them – i.e. it is asking for a bribe that is the crime, rather than paying it.

    On the other hand, I think that getting so close to the Russians is going to backfire on them horribly at some point, so this might not actually have been the best strategy after all.

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