THURSDAY 12 SEP 2013 3:10 PM


Britain and Russia have been economically involved since the reigns of Mary I and Ivan IV (better known as Ivan the Terrible). Two years after diplomatic relations were established in 1553, the Muscovy Company was founded, launching a nearly 460-year economic relationship.

However, that historical relationship has not translated to present businessmen in either country, as Portland has determined. The communications group surveyed Russian and British business leaders and found that, while 70% of respondents are optimistic about investments flowing in either direction, most are still reluctant to do so.

Executive-director of the Russo-British Business Council writes, The somewhat negative perception of the market as a place to do business undoubtedly affects the appetite of UK companies to go into Russia and vice versa. But Russia is on the rise. It has been the UK’s fastest growing export market for the last two years and remains a key member of the BRIC economies.”

One of the survey’s most striking findings shows that 80% of British investors are wary to invest in Russia because of poor coverage of Russian business in Western media and 75% of Russian investors have the same feelings about British business.

With Russia’s wealth of natural resources and rapidly expanding economy, alongside Britain’s established role in the world market, the two countries may be well-matched economically. “Although a sizeable minority of British businesses are actively pursuing new opportunities there are many that are potentially missing out,” Paul Slinger, associate director at Portland says.