Towards a Theory of Internationalization
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Edited by Léo-Paul Dana, Isabell M. Welpe, Mary Han and Vanessa Ratten
31 Small and medium size enterprises in Russia Anatoly Zhuplev and Vladimir Shein Entrepreneurship in Russia: the background Entrepreneurship is a phenomenon relatively new for Russia. Since Russia’s inception as a sovereign nation in the ninth century, its business environment and cultural tradition have not been as supportive of entrepreneurship as that of the world’s most developed economies (Dana, 2005). Throughout its long history, Russia has been largely governed under strong centralized control and government role in economic development (Curtis, 1998). Russia missed the innovative ferment of Renaissance and Reformation, two trends that shaped culture and economic dynamics in the West. While the renaissance in the Middle Ages and the following industrial revolution have accelerated the development of domestic economies and international commerce in the neighbouring European countries, Russia, committed to Eastern Orthodoxy closely aligned with the ruling monarchy in governing the nation, has gone in a diﬀerent direction. It is widely acknowledged that the development of czarist Russia has never followed that of most European countries. Trade routes and ties inside Russia and later in many other countries of the former Soviet Union have never been closely integrated with other industrial European countries. Without wide access to oceans and unfreezing ports, Russia’s international trade with other continents has been constrained. When the Bolshevik Revolution occurred, Russia was predominantly agrarian, so small business has never developed the way it has in the USA, Great Britain, Germany and other developed countries (Russian SME Observatory Report, 2002). Russia’s immense territory and...
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