This particular question is one that has been much in the news and that is highly disputed. Undoubtedly, Russia has an organized crime and bribery problem. Security is a major concern for both Russian and foreign businessmen.
But do not let media stories about crime deter you. The consensus among both Russians and foreign businessmen that we talk to, is that as far as regular business trips are concerned:
1. Certain kinds of activities are relatively more dangerous than others: these are those that involve cash (such as retail operations) or a high public profile (such as certain kinds of finance).
2. There are two types of foreign business people here: one type figures the system out, the other type doesn't. The first type, very quietly, makes good Russian contacts, and starts to make a lot of money. The second type never understands the place, spends a lot of time in a very Western office and Western hotel compaining about how awful Russia is, and finally goes home, frustrated, telling everyone else the Russians are impossible.
Not only in Russia, but generally when you do business abroad, you have to take the time to get to know the local customs and culture. Your business has to adapt, to fit in. You cannot expect locals to change to adapt to your business.
The International Business Development Alliance is composed of specialists of countries of the CIS who can guide your business venture there and help you adapt to the local culture and customs.