Russia: Shades of grey

Russia: Shades of grey

Russian business and politics can rarely be described as boring. Each year throws up its share of dramas, and 2011 is no exception to the rule.

From prime minister Vladimir Putin’s recent, and not entirely unexpected, self-anointment as Russia’s next president, through to Rosneft’s doomed oil exploration joint venture with UK oil major BP and its subsequent rebound into ExxonMobil’s welcoming arms. These events, and more, have shown that Russia hasn’t lost its flare for political and economic intrigue and infighting. Nevertheless, compared to the problems faced by some of its neighbours in the CIS and Western Europe, Russia has come through the year with a veneer of respectability and stability. Any knocks it has taken have come from external sources. Continue reading “Russia: Shades of grey”

Russia: Space Invaders

Russia: Space Invaders

Global law firms have traditionally dominated the corporate market in Russia and the CIS. LB assesses the chances of those domestic firms taking on the internationals at their own game.

Dimitry Afanasiev, chairman of the Russian law firm Egorov, Puginsky, Afanasiev & Partners (EPA&P), is fully aware of the challenges that lie ahead. On 19 July, EPA&P announced that it was to take over the Ukrainian firm Magisters, creating a pan-CIS firm with over 300 lawyers and, as reported in the legal press, a combined turnover of €115m. In doing so, the firm has planted a serious flag in a market that has always been dominated by major internationals. Continue reading “Russia: Space Invaders”

Litigators of Russia – unite!

Litigators of Russia – unite!

The Russian commercial justice system has suffered from image problems in the past, but recent court reforms and a boom in litigation look set to challenge this. LB investigates the impact on the domestic litigation market

In 2005, when Anton Ivanov was appointed chairman of Russia’s Supreme Court of Arbitration, the country’s highest commercial court, the domestic judicial system was blighted by accusations of political interference and corruption. It is fair to say that, for those seeking greater judicial independence within Russia and a broom to sweep away the court system’s perceived problems, Ivanov’s appointment wasn’t immediately seen as a great herald for change. For anyone hoping for an outsider, his arrival was an immense disappointment. Continue reading “Litigators of Russia – unite!”

Over a barrel

Over a barrel

A recent victory in The Hague has green-lit a record-breaking $100bn claim by Yukos’ majority shareholders against the Russian Federation. Legal Business investigates an arbitration that could change the face of international investment forever

On 31 May 2005, Mikhail Khodorkovsky shuffled into the spartan confines of Moscow’s Meshchansky courtroom for the last time, his hands and feet bound in shackles. Alongside co-defendant Platon Lebedev, he was placed inside a steel cage, flanked either side by armed militsiya guards. He was not facing trial for murder or some other violent crime, but for alleged fraud and tax evasion as part of a wider case against Russian oil giant Yukos, of which he was CEO.

Continue reading “Over a barrel”