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Court system

Formally, from a legal point of view, Russia is not a country with judiciary law – a court is under no obligation to repeat or abide by the finding or interpretation of another court, and practice can, in theory, vary dramatically by region or by presiding judge. However, in actuality, lower courts almost always follow the decisions of higher standing ones.


The legal framework of the Russian Federation is highly complex and – at first glance – will undoubtedly appear intimidating to those unfamiliar with its many nuances.


Russia’s legislative infrastructure is constantly evolving and undulating, and regional differences are rife. This makes understanding the basic legal structure and applicable legislation of the country a step that should not be overlooked when preparing to trade within Russian borders, or – indeed – even after a presence has been established therein. Importantly, the necessity of this comprehension becomes all the more pronounced when a retailer’s sights are set upon setting up a legal entity within Russia, as the legal obligations imposed alter drastically as a result. Overall, the varying legal facets of this market are likely to differ significantly from home markets.

The Russian legislature

Federal law in the Russian Federation is drafted and enacted by a bicameral Federal Assembly. This Federal Assembly is made up of the Federation Council (upper house) and the State Duma (lower house). However, simply examining federal law prior to expanding into Russian borders may not be adequate for a retailer’s purposes; ignoring applicable regional laws and developments could be a mistake.


Within Russia, there is significant competition amongst the different regions to attract investment, whether it be Russian or foreign-sourced.


As a result of this, the respective regions have passed a significant number of laws, regulations and other legal measures intended to promote and regulate investment, with the ultimate aim of improving local social and economic conditions. Prospective retailers into Russia should take time to examine which of these regional laws may apply to them, and seeking appropriate professional legal advice is recommended.

Further information

If you'd like to see an extended version of this information, please see the 'Legal' section of our passport.

Additional areas covered include:

  • Legislative hierarchy
  • The Russian court system
  • Foreign v domestic legal entities
  • The Civil Code

The full passport also includes a table containing key legislation to consider before begin trading in the Russian Federation.


Topics covered include:

  • Privacy and data protection
  • Consumer protection
  • Advertising
  • Digital signatures and authentication
  • Intellectual property

To access the Full Report, follow this link here to register and download.




This section is provided for general information only and does not constitute legal or other professional advice. Neither eCommerce Worldwide nor Greenway owes any duty of care to any reader of this section. You should consult a suitably qualified lawyer on any specific legal problem or matters.

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