Russians in the world

Russians in the world

Relaxing business trip to Moscow?.. Try this one!!..


I recently returned from a business trip to Moscow.  The trip was long overdue and as soon as the opportunity arose to go and visit some clients, I grabbed the chance!

Now, I have to be honest, my motives for going were not entirely about the clients.  You see, as a working mom, I’m exhausted quite literally.  Working 10 – 12 hour days followed by entertaining, feeding, bathing and putting to sleep a three year old and an 18 month old are not quite conducive to a relaxing lifestyle!

So in my mind I convinced myself that this trip abroad was going to mean some time out from my daily schedule, to gain back some of the energy that I was sorely lacking and quite frankly, just a chance to take a breather.

HAHAHAHAHAHA! How ignorant am I?! Very apparently! Because there was one small fact I forgot.  The clients I was going to see were Russian.  And anyone working in the financial services industry or legal sector in Cyprus would back me up that a visit to a Russian client is anything but relaxing!

Upon arrival in Moscow at approximately 12 noon, my colleagues and I were collected by the hotel taxi which navigated the traffic from the airport back to the hotel located in Tverskaya Street in central Moscow in approximately 2 hours.  What a ride! Changing lanes takes on a whole new meaning in this city!  Absolute chaos!

It felt like there were cars coming at us from all directions, as if we were a target in some crazy video game that everyone was out to destroy! What made this scenario seem even more surreal?  Our taxi driver began playing Frank Sinatra in the car, a ploy I think to use the music to subconsciously calm our nerves that were seriously on edge!  In any respect, we made it to our hotel intact and had an hour before we were due to meet our first client.

Despite an approximate 5 year working relationship, it was the first time that we were meeting this client.  In the time that I have worked with her, although always polite, the pressure has always been on to meet the deadlines that she sets in respect of the work that we do for her.

Typical of so many Russian clients, work that is requested today actually means work that they wanted done yesterday, if not before for good measure.  Keeping at this kind of pace is quite challenging to say the least! Surprisingly, the client with whom we’ve dealt with telephonically and via email proved to be a very different character in person. 

She was an absolute delight! She took us to an amazing café next to the river and we sat chatting and laughing over food and cocktails until late evening.  Having finally put a face to the name set the tone of a new working relationship that instantaneously became somewhat more personal and less formal.  Exactly what we had set out to achieve!

The following day of my business trip to Moscow another meeting with a new client was scheduled to be held at 11.00 am at an internationally renowned law firm situated in Moscow city centre.  This meeting could have not gone more differently than the one the day before.  Two extremes at their best!  What was intended to be a meet and greet turned out to be a partial closing of a transaction for which documents had to be provided by our Cyprus Registrar of Companies within an hour, apostilled within 15 minutes and finally hand delivered to the hotel at which we were staying the following morning.

Stress levels elevated within a few minutes into the meeting.  Phone calls were being exchanged between my Cypriot colleagues who were attending the meeting with me with our Cypriot colleagues located at our offices in Cyprus who were given the arduous task of achieving what was being asked for. And anyone who has dealt with any Cypriot government department will know, obtaining any kind of formal certificate within an hour is a miracle to say the least.  But, by the grace of goodness knows who, we got what we needed.  For me, the most astonishing thing of all was the demeanour of our Russian clients.

I don’t have the words to describe just how calm they were about asking for what seemed like the impossible!  There was no contemplating that what they needed couldn’t be done.  This wasn’t an option in their world.  What they wanted they were going to get.  And fortunately we were able to oblige.

The meeting lasted two hours but due to various other requests, I was finally able to deliver the last set of documents needed by 7.00 pm that evening with the remaining documents to be delivered to the hotel the next day by another colleague who coincidentally was going to be travelling to Moscow.

The adrenaline rush of the day finally subsided and the exhaustion that set in was second to none!  But again, we managed to achieve what we set out to do, impress the client with an exceptional level of service!

On our last eveningduring business trip to Moscow, my colleagues and I decided to celebrate a successful trip with a dinner at an Asian restaurant called TURANDOT.  This restaurant had come highly recommended and I would like to say after my first-hand experience of eating there, it was INCREDIBLE!! 

The quality and taste of the food was like no other I’ve eaten! I’m a passionate food lover! I wake up thinking of food and I go to bed at night planning what to eat the following day! This restaurant exceeded all expectations and then some!  And on par to the food was the service. The staff catered to our every need in such a friendly manner that all the stress of the previous days melted away!

My time in Moscow for those few days was quite an education in terms of Russian work ethic.  The pace and pressure that they set for themselves and as a consequence on their associates and service providers is very demanding and very results driven.  When they have a request, they want an immediate result.  The in-between is merely a formality that should not interfere with the process.

But I tell you what, if every trip could end with a meal at TURANDOT, well, I think I am up for the challenge of catering to the whim of our Russian clients.  Taste their food! You’ll agree!