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Russian companies embark on massive expansion to ‘friendly’ countries  

Tax discounts and opportunities to boost exports have reportedly been behind the move to open new branches

Russian businesses have opened nearly 12,000 branches in Serbia, the United Arab Emirates, Armenia, and Kyrgyzstan since 2022, the news outlet Izvestia reported on Monday, citing industry data.   

Serbia topped the list with 9,000 new openings, which included online shops, kindergartens, manufacturing facilities, real estate companies, and co-working spaces, as well as legal and business consulting firms, a survey by consultancy Finion showed.  

“Russian businesses in friendly countries are doing well, even though sometimes they face difficulties related to policies of local banks and payment settlements,” Finion’s head and founder Vyacheslav Kartamyshev said. He noted that the number of Russian nationals residing in Serbia has surged from 2,000 several years ago to 200,000 presently.

He attributed the business expansions to favorable conditions such as tax discounts, opportunities to boost exports, and a wider presence of Russians in these countries.   

READ MORE: UAE banks closing Russian accounts – media

Russian companies have opened 800 branches in Armenia and 450 in Kyrgyzstan, according to Antonina Levashenko, head of the Russian Center for Competence and Analysis of OECD Standards. These countries are members of the Eurasian Economic Union, a bloc of five post-Soviet states with simplified customs and tax procedures, as well as streamlined registration for Russian businesses.   

In the past two years, about 1,600 branches have been opened in the UAE, which has traditionally been a popular destination for Russian businesses. Economists linked the expansion in the country to the accounts of hundreds of Russian companies and businesses being closed in the EU due to Ukraine-related sanctions.   

The sectors that recorded the largest increase in new branches included IT, logistics, and services, the data showed.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

February 27, 2024 at 08:23PM

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