Moscow - To Thaw The Icy Reception

Influences of wars, wants, struggles and suffering are central to the history of Russia. After toppling the Tsars’ ruling, Stalin once remarked:

Old Russia … was ceaselessly beaten for her backwardness. She was beaten by the Mongolian khans. She was beaten by the Turkish beys. She was beaten by the Swedish feudal lords. She was beaten by the Polish-Lithuanian gentry. She was beaten by Anglo-French capitalists. She was beaten by the Japanese barons.

Can you believe? I took a photo with comrade Lenin (left) and Stalin (right) at Red Square.

Harsh in Weather and History
But not all Russia’s sufferings had came from outsiders as the Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko (b. 1933) testified:
She was christened in childhood with a lash,
torn to pieces
Her soul was trampled by feet,
Inflicting blow upon blow,
Of Pechenegs,
And our own people -
Much more terrible than Tatars

Yes, from these roots stem Russia’s melancholia, paranoia, passivity, xenophobia and national self-pity.

And our own people – much more terrible than the Tatars”, this is not only true in Russia, but it also applies to many other countries, where their own political leaders are far more cruel than the invaders, killing more people.

Russia’s extremely cold weather and hardship in history explains to us why most of them are frosty, straight face, even those who are serving hospitality industry having not much smiles to offer their guests.

Moscow and Beijing: Cities look alike
I saw some resemblance in the city scenes of Moscow and Beijing, especially the old buildings and apartments that were built in the Communist ruling era. And, both cities adopt the same Ring Road concept. In Moscow, it is called Moscow Automobile Ring Road, or MKAD, more precisely МКАД in Moscow word, an acronym for Московская Кольцевая Автомобильная Дорога.

Moscow covers an area of about 386 square miles (878,7 square kilometers), its outer limit being roughly delineated by this Moscow Ring Road. Most of the areas beyond this highway have been designated as Forest-Park Zone, or greenbelt.

The pattern of rings and radials that mark the historical stages of Moscow's growth remains evident in its modern layout. The center of all rings is Moscow Kremlin and famous Red Square. It’s just like Beijing, the Ring Roads centralized the historical Forbidden City (The Chinese Imperial Palace from the Ming Dynasty) and the famous Tiananmen Square.

Surprisingly, the Moscow subway system has the biggest ridership of all metro systems throughout the world, with 3.2 billion riders annually traveling on 12 subway lines to 172 stations. In total, the Moscow Metro covers approximately 178 miles. And it is convenient to use metro when tour the Moscow city.

The map of Metro Station of Moscow

The Ring of metro is one of the tourist attractions

Spring in April is still cold in Moscow, the temperature can drop to - 4 Celsius at night and I witnessed a few snowfalls during my short stay.

High Cost of Living
Last year in my brief travel to Sao Paulo, I complaint about the high cost of living there, but I wouldn’t say so if I had came to Moscow first. According to Batyr, our Russian nationality regional sales manager, many of Moscow people have to rely on second or third job in order to make a modest living. Anyone with a private car can temporarily turn it into a taxi to transport passengers; the law unofficially allows it.

When the Russia communism collapsed in the nineties, it gave way to freer market activities and allowed possession of private assets, the first wave opportunists with strong political connections, and the far-sighted entrepreneurs were the first who became either filthy rich or über-rich. Although the present economy is badly hit by the global slowdown, the roads of Moscow filled with luxury vehicles tell quite a different story.

In Search for The Right Partners
FingerTec 4-day exhibition ran quite smoothly with Batyr around. The market potential is huge, and we have yet to find steady partners, only have a few irregular customers from the past. Just like Brazil, unpredictable custom procedures and high duty imposed deters the ordinary companies from directly importing any merchandise into Russia. We have to look for the right partners to start a more robust business in the Russian territory.

We received quite some visitors from the Russian speaking CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) countries. Our advantage, again, Russian language is readily available in our hardware and software, including in some of the marketing materials. Like what we always highlighted, “With FingerTec, we make everything easy.”

Ms Roza from Armenia

Mr. Kovalchuk (middle) from Ukraine and Mr. Batyr (left)

Thanks to Mr Kovalchuk Olekksandr, Axioma – Techno and Mr. Pastushenko Yuriy, Egida Ltd. from Ukraine; and Ms Karapetyan Roza, Elcomp Electronic Company from Armenia, who were unhesitant to purchase sample units on the spot. We hope our small steps would spark a bigger business collaboration in the future for the market of Russia and The Commonwealth of Independent States.

To thaw the icy reception, we put our best foot forward, presenting our Russian staff, Batyr Komurzoev, an avid economist who is pursuing his Phd in International Islamic University Malaysia at the frontline, for better communication and product’s localization process. I always believe in long-term business planning.

by Teh Hon Seng, CEO, FingerTec HQ

Influences of wars, wants, struggles and suffering are central to the history of Russia. After toppling the Tsars ’ ruling, Stalin once r...