Executives Rate Russia’s Business Environment as Worse than Post-Soviet ‘90s

More than 50% of Russia’s corporate community believes doing business in the country is more complicated today than it was during the 1990s, a new survey by PwC Russia reveals, according to Forbes.

The survey on changes in Russian business in the past three decades found 52% of the executives polled said conditions have grown worse since the turbulent decade following the collapse of the Soviet Union. 40% of the businessmen surveyed said the environment has improved.

Higher taxes and utility prices, along with increased bureaucracy were cited as the major negative developments, while improved transparency, wider availability of services and easier business registration were seen as the most business-friendly changes over the past 20 years.

The results are based on a survey of 1,000 businesspeople, split between those now in their 30s, who grew up in the 1990s, and those who were starting out in business during the decade, now in their 60s.

Those who owned a business during the 1990s were more likely to say conditions are better today, with 59% reporting an improvement. The rest of the cohort — four in 10 — still said it was easier to run a business in the 1990s than today.

According to the survey’s results, businessmen said that in the 90s, the main risks of doing business included physical abuse and the threats to security of family members. Now, the main threats identified are different and more connected to the role of the state: loss of business reputation, imprisonment or forced emigration.

More than half — 55% — of those who were children during the 1990s said doing business today is more difficult than before President Vladimir Putin came to power.

Russia placed 28th in the most recent Doing Business report by the World Bank, up from 120th in 2011.