Debt Collection in Russia


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Enforcing Contracts

Pursuing out of court debt collection in Russia will most likely be the first step to take. If we compare the country to other advanced economies contract enforcement is quite fast. In OECD high income countries it takes 553 days whereas in Russia only 340 days. Also, the quality of the judicial process index scores 11 in line with the OECD’s. Finally, Russia Doing Business 2017 rank is 40 out of 190 which means it does pretty well.

Pre-Legal Debt Collection in Russia

In the Russian Federation you will have to provide a Power of Attorney to your Russian lawyer. Also, you must supply the supporting documentation to start proceedings. For example, sales contract, delivery receipts, invoices and evidence of non-payment.
But don’t expect to be able to claim recovery costs as you won’t get any back. Furthermore, make sure that your claim is less than 3 years old. But if the contract doesn’t state it, you can claim statutory interest at rates of up to 8% above the European Central Bank base rate.


Legal Action in Russia

To pursue debt collection in Russia via legal action you must provide a notarized and apostilled Power of Attorney to your lawyer. Also, you can claim payment in a foreign currency unless it’s made within Russia.
Furthermore, Russian Arbitrazh courts need large evidence and documentation for the hearing. According to ECN, the following list shows what you need to proceed, wherever applicable to your case, of course:
  • Power of Attorney (POA)
  • Abstract of the Trade Register of the Creditor
  • Contract
  • Invoices
  • Packing List
  • Proof of Delivery (CMRs waybills, etc.)
  • Clearance Documents
  • Proof of non-payment (e.g. statement of account)
  • Evidence of pre-Trial reconciliantion attempts
  • Exchange of correspondence


Moreover, your documents must be translated into Russian. Cost of enforcement officials might be payable by the Debtor.Yet, the claimant covers all other costs though they may be recovered from the losing party.
In general, you would be able to enforce a foreign judgements if two conditions occur:


a) Treaty or Convention: between Russia and the country where judgement was rendered.
b) Principle of Reciprocity: in the absence of the above, the Russian court may recognise the judgement on the principle of reciprocity
Needless to say, if you are in the last case you must provide notarized translation of all documents.

Why Recoupera

If you want to proceed with debt collection in Russia, you need a specialised Russian lawyer able to navigate the Russian legal system. If you think of relying on your country’s judgement and a lawyer local to you, think again. Expertise in a legal system develops only through direct experience. For your debt collection in Russia, let Recoupera connect you with a world-class lawyer also specialised and a top professional in commercial debt collection. Then, join us and go global.
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Some Basic Facts about Russia’s Economy and Import Profile

With a population of about 144m, Russia is the 12th largest economy in the world with s GDP of US $1,280bn. It ranks 19th in the world as exporter of $259bn worth of merchandise and 24th as importer of US $165bn worth of goods.
Russia joined the WTO only in 2012 and after a negative GDP performance in the 2015-2016 period, the IMF projects a 2017 GDP growth at 1.4%.
The WTO reports that Russia’s top agricultural imports in 2016 (mln US$) were:


  • Citrus fruit, fresh or dried – HS 0805
  • Bananas, including plantains – HS 0803
  • Soya beans, whether or not broken – HS 1201
  • Unmanufactured tobacco – HS 2401
  • Meat of bovine animals, frozen – HS 0202


Rather, for non-agricultural products top imports in 2016 (mln USD) were:


  • Medicaments in doses – HS 3004
  • Machinery, plant equipment – HS 8419
  • Motor cars for persons transport – HS 8703
  • Parts of motor vehicles – HS 8708
  • Radio-telephony transmission tools – HS8525


How to Export to the Russian Federation


Shipping products to Russian importers needs you to follow specific procedures and documentation. Some documents you need are:


  • Commercial invoice (include the HS code in case the product needs special licensing)
  • Packing list
  • Transport Documents
  • Declaration for Import
  • Sales Contract
  • Import licences by the importer


In addition, if your products are subject to codes and regulations you need a certified translation that in most cases costs quite a lot. This site provides all possible codes translations into Russian at a very affordable price. They claim their Regulatory Library is currently made of 220,000 regulatory documents all with certified translations. Also, there are some products specifically prohibited in Russia that you can check on the Russian Federal Customs Service or on the Eurasian Economic Commission website.


If you want to find out more, several resources are available and can help you uncover specific information. The EU Trade Commission provides an overview of import procedures for the Russian Federation. Further tips on how to trade with Russia are available on globaltrade and are the result of contribution by the UKTI, HKTDC and the US Department of Commerce. Finally, if your products requires labeling or marking, they must satisfy the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) requirements and where applicable apply the “EAC” mark logo.


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This article contains general legal information and material for informational purposes only which are not intended and should not be taken as legal advice. Recoupera is not a collection agency and it is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. All informational material provided may not reflect changes in the law. For legal advice, contact a lawyer.