The Russian legal system is operated as a civil law system meaning they follow the law based on written codes. Russian Civil Code is the primary source of civil law and the civil code spells out certain basic principles. Under Russian Law, foreign individuals and companies enjoy the same rights to sue and be sued in Russian Courts as Russian natives and companies. The court system is divided into three separate parts: 1. The Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation which focuses on ensuring compliance with Federal Law based on the Russian Constitution. 2.
Courts of General Jurisdiction is a four-tier system with the Supreme Court of the Federation being the highest and the three-tier military court system beneath it. This four-tier structure deals with civil, criminal and administrative cases. 3. Arbitrazh (Commercial) Courts are specialized courts for settling commercial disputes and is also set-up as a four-tier system. They have special Jurisdiction over disputes arising out of the application of legislation governing corporations, shareholders and participants in Russian companies on all matters with the exception of employment issues.
These courts also have exclusive Jurisdiction over the recognition and enforcement of foreign court decisions and awards for disputes stemming from commercial activity. Corruption in the legal system is still prevalent. Many of the judges were educated under the old Soviet Union regime and maintain a different mindset then those educated under the Russian Federation. The old regime influenced Judges to lean toward the prosecution adding leverage to the old saying “Guilty’ until proven innocent. This methodology is still enforced by most of the older judges who were once prosecutors themselves.
The business culture of Russia stems around superiority. Firm handshakes are a sign of power and coincide with their dictatorship attitudes. They are resistant to the western civilized ways which is a measure of weakness or loss of control. Their centralized concepts are designed to maintain control and ensure political power is prevalent. Their authoritative behavior is manipulative of their business practices. The act of gift giving is expected especially when contemplating business. The use of locals to gain Russian business insight is recommended however it comes with a price.
Russia is known for legal nterference when it comes to doing business, with a magnitude of red tape and high tariffs. The process for conducting business could be long and difficult, requiring the assistance of locals. This practice plays into the level of corruption that is associated with Russian business. I hope I have brought some light to Russia’s legal system and culture.
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