The New Russian Business Leaders
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The New Russian Business Leaders

Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries, Stanislav V. Shekshnia, Konstantin Korotov and Elisabeth Florent-Treacy

Based on extensive interviews with the pioneers of Russian business and the authors’ own experiences, this perceptive new book attempts to decipher the enigma of Russia’s new generation of business leaders. The authors present six in-depth case studies focusing on companies of vastly differing sizes, ranging from a newly-privatized operation, and the creation and organization of an oligarch’s empire, to several entrepreneurial start-ups in different service industries. The case studies document the changes and developments that have occurred in Russia since the privatization era of the 1990s, highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of the emerging business leadership orientations.
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Chapter 2: An East–West Dialogue

Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries, Stanislav V. Shekshnia, Konstantin Korotov and Elisabeth Florent-Treacy


Russians know too little about Russia. Alexander Pushkin Wretched and abundant, Oppressed and powerful, Weak and mighty, Mother Russia! Nikolai Nekrasov The discussion that follows can be seen as a snapshot of the kind of dialogue that took place between ‘Western’ contributors and Russian ones during the writing of this work. As a snapshot it represents an archetype, reflecting some of the biases Westerners have toward Russia. The original discussion on which this interchange is based took place in an obscure spa hotel outside Petropavlovsk, a city in the Russian Far East. Petropavlovsk is considered the largest and most important city on the Kamchatka Peninsula. Although located in a beautiful, mountainous environment, to Western eyes the city is quite decrepit with decaying houses and a dwindling population of people who were brought to the peninsula by force or worked for the military. The city offered a very different perspective, far removed in more ways than one from the impressive central districts of Moscow or St. Petersburg. Petropavlovsk can be viewed as part of what the French would call La Russie profonde, deep, basic Russia. The setting offered the opportunity to explore Western perceptions of Russia. There the following dialogue took place, between a Russian business leader and a Western academic. The Russian executive (East): One hundred years after Peter the Great’s death, Alexander Pushkin said that the first Russian emperor ‘cut a window to Europe’ for Russia, where the country now ‘stands on a firm foot’. One century after...

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