Beyond the Tip of the Iceberg: Business Disputes in Russia
Posted: 26 Feb 1999
What are the sources of business litigation in Russia? How do disputes evolve? Cases filed in arbitrazh courts constitute only the most visible indicator of business disputes -- the tip of the iceberg. Studies of business disputes elsewhere suggest that many -- perhaps most -- disputes never end up in court. Either the disputants reach some accord or a decision is made that the harm suffered is not worth the trouble of going to court. The paper will identify the stages through which business disputes pass in Russia, and will analyze the role of various actors and institutions in their evolution or termination. The disputing process begins with a trading partner expressing any sort of dissatisfaction, and then becomes increasingly serious. The paper will explain what factors tend to cause a dissatisfaction to be perceived as a serious problem that is deserving of broader attention and, ultimately, that only a court can resolve the disagreement. The analysis will draw on a series of six case studies of Russian industrial enterprises in Moscow, Saratov, and Ekaterinburg, undertaken in the first half of 1998.
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