A breezy, street-wise guide to doing business in the erstwhile Soviet Union that does for the so-called Commonwealth of Independent States—the ``New Russia''—approximately what P.J. O'Rourke's Parliament of Whores did for the US government. While former Baltimore Sun reporter Thomas and investment consultant Sutherland are not particularly upbeat about economic opportunity in the CIS (which sprawls across 11 time zones), they note there are lessons to be learned from the success achieved by the patient, persevering likes of Benetton, PepsiCo, and McDonald's. Generally, though, the authors see more risk than reward for Westerners who optimistically view Russia & Co. as a new economic frontier. They point out that Communism's mind-set lives on, and that none of the emergent republics yet has regulatory controls, judicially enforced property rights, monetary policy, financial institutions, tax systems, legal safeguards, or other of the commercial constraints that keep most First World investors and merchants honest. Nor do many locals grasp the concept of market forces, let alone resource allocation, long-range planning, or profit and loss. Worse yet, Marxist/Leninist doctrine makes deception a common practice. Would-be Eurasian capitalists, the authors caution, tend to lack business skills as well as ethics- -deficiencies to keep in mind when considering former apparatchiks or upstart hustlers as partners. Thomas and Sutherland conclude that it will take well over a full generation for any economic order to materialize from Bolshevism's wreckage. In the meantime, this savvy briefing could help venturesome apostles of free enterprise steer clear of the many pitfalls that await outlanders in what once was the USSR.
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