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Real Business in Russia – Outlook on the Future

Consulate General of Finland in St. Petersburg and Accountor Russia had the pleasure to jointly organize a business seminar on the topic of Real Business in Russia – Outlook on the Future. This seminar was held at the General Consulate of Finland in St. Petersburg on October 24, 2018. Over 50 representatives of international companies attended this event to share their business outlook for the next few years.

Anne Lammila, Consul of Finland in St. Petersburg, opened the seminar, and the panel discussion started after the keynote address made by Teemu Helppolainen, Director General of YIT Russia.

Maria Chernobrovkina, Executive Director of American Chamber of Commerce in Russia in St. Petersburg was the moderator of the panel discussion.


  • Teemu Helppolainen, Director General, YIT Russia (ЮИТ Россия)
  • Oleg Tsai, Managing Director Russia and CIS, Under Armour
  • Aleksey Zhukov, Global Co-manufacturing Director, Mars Petcare (Mars, Incorporated) 
  • Timo Matinpalo, Director General, Accountor Russia
  • Elena Smirnova, Vice-President East, Leipurin Russia
  • Natalia Baskakova, Financial Director, Dell Russia

The objective of the panel discussion was to identify the main opportunities and challenges for businesses in Russia for 2019 and beyond.


  • The risks related to the difficult geopolitical situation might to some extent be exaggerated so there is still good reasons to stay and fill niches in the market; 
  • Consumers are rather selective in their purchase decisions and are nowadays more aware of trends, prices and quality due to the internet and social media; 
  • Digitalization and enhanced transparency in business administration processes.


  • Bureaucracy, especially in customs procedures;
  • Russia’s attractiveness from investment and competent workforce standpoints;
  • Difficulties in strategic business process planning due to a volatile economic environment; 
  • Global consumer trends are lagging behind compared to developed economies (this, on the other hand, can also be seen as an opportunity).

Accountor would like to take this opportunity to thank Anne Lammila, Consul of Finland in St. Petersburg, Maria Chernobrovkina, Executive Director of Amcham St. Petersburg, as well as all the panelists and participants for conducting an open and interesting dialogue at the seminar.