Normal corporate ethics vie with graft and gangsterism
Strong-arm tactics haven’t entirely disappeared from Russia’s industrial consolidation process but the most successful companies are increasingly ploughing ahead by using gentler methods.
"All happy families resemble one another, but each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." So Tolstoy has it in Anna Karenina. Something similar could be said of Russia's companies.
After two years of relatively strong economic growth, the managers of Russia's leading companies are becoming increasingly happy. Production and sales are rising. They have enough money to make investments for the moment and international prices are high, while the government has cut taxes to low levels.
Russia's big business has taken advantage of the benign conditions to consolidate companies and buy new ones that look likely to be profitable. As they grow, the leaders are starting to look alike. Of the oil majors only Surgutneftegas now doesn't produce financial reports in line with international accounting standards, and more and more companies are introducing corporate governance codes or inviting independent directors on to their boards.