Understanding Russia’s Unfriendly Countries List

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By Chris Devonshire-Ellis

Russia has been making trade and investment decisions that affect both corporate businesses and individuals based upon a new nationally defined category of country of origin – the ‘unfriendly countries’ list. These are essentially countries whose governments have been perceived by Moscow to have taken ‘unfriendly’ positions against Russia, including the imposition of sanctions and similar measures.

This is a complete list of the countries and regions currently on the ‘Unfriendly Countries’ list.

Albania, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Micronesia, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States and the European Union.

The British Overseas Territories – Anguilla, British Antarctic Territory, British Virgin Islands, Bermuda, British Indian Ocean Territory, Gibraltar, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Montserrat, Pitcairn Islands, St. Helena, Ascension, Tristan da Cunha Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Akrotiri and Dhekelia, Turks and Caicos Islands, and the Crown Dependencies of Guernsey, Isle of Man, and Jersey are also included as part of the United Kingdom listing.

There are some points to note:

Individuals from Unfriendly Countries

There are not many practical issues concerning individuals from countries on this list. They may still travel to Russia and obtain visas. The restrictions on individuals from these countries are related to currency trading and similar financial trading activities and will not impede most normal activities. For clarification, please contact us at russia@dezshira.com

It should be noted that all foreign individuals based in and working in Russia, regardless of where they are from, have permission to repatriate money back to their home country up to the amount of their salary paid in Russia.

Corporate Businesses from Unfriendly Countries

A variety of restrictions apply to corporate entities from unfriendly countries operating in Russia. The most apparent are restrictions applied on repatriating profits back to the home country entity, which is currently banned. However, corporate entities from friendly countries may repatriate up to US$1 million (or equivalent amount) every month back to their parent. This has led to corporate restructuring issues taking place at Head Office level to either disburse or sell the Russian entity to registered subsidiaries based in friendly countries. Other corporate restrictions apply on a case-by-case basis and can be company specific. For clarifications concerning corporate restrictions in Russia please contact us at russia@dezshira.com. It should also be noted that in nearly all cases, Russia’s trade and investment with friendly countries is showing double digit growth. Please ask us for specific friendly country trade data and strategic advisory assistance.

Overall Impact of Sanctions

It should be noted that many Western businesses from ‘unfriendly countries’ remain operational in Russia and are not affected by sanctions as concern Russian import rules. These range from US-owned fast-food outlets to European auto sales to European fashion stores and consumables. For clarifications as concerns what items may be readily sold in Russia and are not subject to sanctions, please contact us at russia@dezshira.com

Geopolitical Impact

The ‘Unfriendly Countries’ list comprises of 49 countries who have taken a sanctions stance against Russia. Most of these are in the West, while several are relatively minor states. According to the United Nations, the global community totals 195 countries, meaning that 146 countries have not taken any measures against Russia and retain normal trade and commercial activities where possible.

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During these uncertain times, we must stress that our firm does not approve of the Ukraine conflict. We do not entertain business with sanctioned Russian companies or individuals. However, we are well aware of the new emerging supply chains, can advise on strategic analysis and new logistics corridors, and may assist in non-sanctioned areas. We can help, for example, Russian companies develop operations throughout Asia, including banking advisory services, and trade compliance issues, and have done since 1992.

We also provide financial and sanctions compliance services to foreign companies wishing to access Russia. Additionally, we offer market research and advisory services to foreign exporters interested in accessing Russia as the economy looks to replace Western-sourced products. For assistance, please email russia@dezshira.com or visit www.dezshira.com