Internationalization of Firms from Economies in Transition
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Internationalization of Firms from Economies in Transition

The Effects of a Politico-Economic Paradigm Shift

Edited by Mai Thi Thanh Thai and Ekaterina Turkina

This book provides a detailed analysis of how and why firms from economies in transition internationalize and examines the effects of domestic politico-economic factors on this process.
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Chapter 10: Internationalization of Russian firms as institutional arbitrage: the case of Finland

Victoria Golikova, Päivi Karhunen and Riitta Kosonen


In recent years, Russia has become an active player in the world economy. Its rank was eighth among world's top investor countries in 2012, and foreign acquisitions by large Russian multinational enterprises (MNEs) have become a common phenomenon (UNCTAD, 2013). The large multinationals, often with state ownership and investing in natural-resource based industries, are the most visible representatives of the Russian business abroad. Correspondingly, most academic research on the internationalization of Russian firms has focused on MNEs (see, for example, Kalotay and Sulstarova, 2010; Kuznetsov, 2011a). At the same time, smaller Russian firms, often embodied by their founder-entrepreneur, are increasingly exploring business opportunities through internationalization as well. In some cases, they follow the traditional model of firm internationalization, whereas in others, individual-level migration and firm-level internationalization processes are intertwined (for example, Pinsent Masons, 2012). Such non-traditional modes of the internationalization of Russian firms have, however, received scant research attention. This, we argue, is a gap that needs to be addressed to extend knowledge about the internationalization of Russian firms beyond the MNE context. In this chapter, we shed light on the internationalization of Russian firms of different sizes. Theoretically, we build on the institutional perspective to show how the peculiarities of the Russian business environment are manifested in the internationalization patterns in Russian firms.

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