Red Tape

Bill Thomas, Author, Thomas Sutherland, Author, Charles Sutherland, With
Bill Thomas, Author, Thomas Sutherland, Author, Charles Sutherland, With Dutton Books $22 (288p) ISBN 978-0-525-93502-5
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-452-27031-2
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Thomas ( Lawyers and Thieves ) and investment consultant Sutherland lay it on the line for venture capitalists looking to do business in Russia: ``You have to start out with the clear understanding you could get royally screwed.'' And, they add, pack cartons of cigarettes ``to use as money,'' candy ``to use as food'' and take along a sense of humor. These cautions--and dozens more--made, the authors of this shrewd, pragmatic, spirited view of the new capitalist frontier guide readers through ``a gloomy, gray country full of hustlers and salesmen,'' and point out pitfalls in dealing with a byzantine banking system, currency auctions (``the ruble is currency in its most elastic and creative form'') and legal structure. Foreign investors, the authors stress, should commit themselves to establishing a long-term presence (witness PepsiCo and McDonald's) and they note that presently one of the few profitable ways of doing business is through ``countertrade'' (Xerox and General Electric, for example, barter photocopiers and turbines for building materials). The Soviets--the authors insist on this designation--``can wheel and deal with goods and money in ways the average capitalist couldn't imagine'' because the one-time apparatchiks, who are the only ones with know-how, are still in charge. (Oct.)
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