Business risks

Australian companies are advised to spend time investigating the market, obtain professional advice where appropriate and thoroughly investigate the issues in entering the market and before establishing business relationships.

Australian firms wishing to operate in this country should commit to the highest level of corporate behaviour and familiarise themselves with Australia's laws and penalties pertaining to bribery of foreign officials.

Bribery of foreign public officials is a crime. Australian individuals and companies can be prosecuted in Australia for bribing foreign officials when overseas. Further information on the regulations governing bribery of foreign public officials is available.

For further information on frauds, scams, personal and asset security, intellectual property protection and other business risks please read more about legal issues.

Sanctions

Australia has imposed sanctions on Russia in response to the Ukraine crisis. The sanctions include restrictions on exports of certain goods to Russia and restricts the access of Russian state-owned banks to Australian capital markets. The sanctions also prohibit Australian organisations and individuals from dealing with assets owned or controlled by designated Russian persons or entities. The full list of designated persons or entities for Ukraine can be accessed at DFAT’s Ukraine sanctions page.

The Russian Government imposed an embargo on specific fresh food imports from certain countries, including Australia, effective 7 August, 2014 for a 12 month period. The embargo has been extended for another year until the end of 2017.

Intellectual property protection

Russia is a signatory to most major international agreements and conventions on intellectual property and Russian civil law regulates legal IP protection and its provisions tend to be similar to those of other developed countries.

However, it should be noted that the practice of intellectual property enforcement in Russia lags behind international norms. While the situation is improving, it is important to discuss strategies for protecting your intellectual property with lawyers and other specialists. Austrade Russia/Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) can provide introductions to appropriate service providers.

Intellectual property licenses or assignment agreements for patents and trademarks must be registered with the Federal Service for Intellectual Property, Patents and Trademarks of the Russian Federation. The registration requirement does not apply to copyrights.

Licence agreements are not required if a third party wants to sell goods bought from the trademark owner, or has the trademark owner’s consent to do so. Russia also has specific rules about accounting for intellectual property.

Dispute resolution

Bodies such as the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Moscow Chamber of Commerce offer a voluntary framework for resolution of commercial disputes. This may be a suitable means for resolving small-scale matters.

The Russian court system remains weak but is improving.

Many companies doing business in Russia draw up contracts under foreign law, such as English law and/or opt for international arbitration for dispute resolution.