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Business Environment in Russia Worse Than 1990s, Say Half of Executives

Business owners cite more taxes, higher utility prices and increased bureaucracy compared to the 1990s.

Russia has climbed almost 100 places in the World Bank's Doing Business ratings. Not all business owners agree. Artyom Geodakyan / TASS

Half of Russia’s corporate community believe doing business in Russia is more complicated today than it was during the 1990s.

A survey by accountants at PwC Russia found 52% said business conditions have grown worse since the turbulent decade following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Four in ten reported an improvement.

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.

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.

Meanwhile, 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.

The results are based on a survey of 1,000 business people, 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.

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

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