What do the 30 or so Eurasian countries once governed by Communist parties have in common today?
For investors and corporates, encounters with businesses from Belgrade to Baku, Vilnius to Vladivostok are often characterised by corruption, bureaucratic obstinacy and an excessive use of tax-saving offshore shell companies. These countries' sudden emergence, a generation ago, from a planned economy and authoritarian rule led to unregulated, insider-driven privatisation, benefiting oligarchs and organised crime at the expense of an impoverished general population. Relative peace and stability, as well as high oil prices, brought about new elites such as the state oligarchs - civil servants whose positions at the intersection of natural resources and public budgets have allowed them to accumulate fortunes (and luxury real estate) not far behind that of their private-sector rivals.
Yet greater opportunities and the advent of the digital economy have also given rise to a new generation of Western-educated, tech-savvy entrepreneurs who are importing such concepts as transparency and corporate governance. If governments are slow to react and the regulatory environment enduringly backward, business leaders are lighting the way.
The FP team, led by co-founder Nikolai Frank, will help you gain strategic advantage doing business in Eastern Europe and the CIS. Nikolai, who speaks fluent Russian and is proficient in other Slavonic languages, has worked on hundreds of investigations across the region –screening agents, charting political risks or profiling billionaires. Contact Nikolai
Nikolai heads FP's headquarters in Berlin and leads the company's Eastern European and CIS practice. He specialises in advising clients on their local investments, shedding light on local power relationships and reputational risks. Read more