Turbulent times for Russia: Putin’s running for President again and international relations wobble following a Russian nerve agent being used on an ex-spy in the UK

Categories: Global HRGlobal Payroll | Published Date: 16 March 2018

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At the weekend (Sunday 18th March 2018) Russia is heading to the polls for the first round of their presidential election. After announcing that he would be running for a fourth term back in December 2017, Vladimir Putin is widely expected to win, consistently receiving high percentages in opinion polls since the last election in 2012.

There’s already been a recent notable change and we’ve not even had the election yet – last month Russian lawmakers passed legislation raising the minimum wage to 11,163 rubles ($198). This will come into play by May 1st 2018 and will mean that the lowest earning Russians see a 43% rise in their salary compared to what they earned last year.

In addition to this Russian news, we have also seen the dramatic poisoning of two Russians, an ex-spy and his daughter, in the United Kingdom. Russia are disputing that they are responsible for it, whilst Prime Minister Theresa May believes it was them and is now sanctioning Russia after they failed to adequately explain what happened.

Already May has decided that 23 Russian diplomats will be expelled, and that all bi-lateral contacts between the two countries will be suspended, amongst taking other measures. President Donald Trump has said that the United States are allied with the UK in regards to this, stating that “It sounds to me like they believe it was Russia and I would certainly take that finding as fact.”

In terms of business, the Guardian suggests that the UK could recommend that Russian banks are cut off from “the system behind financial transactions”. With the United States supporting the UK in their stance, it is highly possible that this will have significant impact on the ability to easily conduct business with Russia. The scale of the challenge will only become clear once tit-for-tat political manoeuvring has been completed and the dust has settled. International companies need to be prepared.

It is clearly not just the upcoming election that international companies should be concerned about. Indeed, it’s vital that you recognise that with political ceremony comes the possibility of legislative change, such as the increase in minimum wage in Russia. You must be one step ahead, ensuring that you move with the times and remain legislatively compliant. This is difficult enough in your home country, but even more of a challenge when you place employees abroad.

International trade anywhere in the world can always be tricky, but if this is something that you want to dip your toe into, we don’t want you to be deterred by this. It’s not something you have to go into alone, and it’s not something you need to manage completely remotely. By outsourcing this responsibility to a company that can provide expert knowledge and an award-winning service from the country you want to operate from (Russia or otherwise), you can rest assured that a difficult task is made effortless for you.

Whether it’s payroll, HR, global payments or employment law that you need help with, the best companies will be able to help you, even during the turbulent times.

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