Alexander Settles, Olga Melitonyan and James Gillies INTRODUCTION In their splendid book Corporate Social Responsibility: Readings and Cases Crane et al. (2007), citing Grafski and Moon (2004), write in their section on CSR in emerging/transitional economies: [W]hile there is a plethora of different approaches to CSR in these countries, one might argue that in some respects Russia and China represent the most extreme cases. Russia on the one hand has seen privatization and the turn to capitalism accompanied by rather weak and corrupt governmental institutions resulting in what some would refer to ‘as a cowboy economy’. It is, therefore, little wonder that CSR is still a largely unknown concept in Russia and for many Russian business people, bears strong resemblance to communist times. (Crane et al. 2007: 12) By definition transitional economies experience dynamic change. In the case of Russia the most recent – 2008 – changes have led to a strengthening of government and the centralization of many activities in various government departments. At the same time there has been substantial growth in the private sector of the economy and a rapid expansion of interest in, and acceptance of, modern private corporate governance practices. In 2004–06, the Corporate Governance Centre at the Higher School of Economics (Gillies and Melitonyan, 2008) offered more than five seminars in four different cities throughout Russia on different aspects of corporate governance, including corporate social responsibility. Since then the demand for education and training in CSR has become so great that the Corporate Governance...
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