(or Why Kremlin doesn't Want Good PR?)
Entrance to an IKEA store in Rostov, Russia.
As economy is sliding down, and even the construction of the Moscow City is up in the air, one would think that Russians, and Kremlin especially, would want as much foreign investment as possible. It is well-known that Russians have had highest levels of disposable income comparing to other nations, and retail has made many Western companies wealthy. Among such companies was IKEA that has three stores in Moscow alone. IKEA built factories, streamlined supply chains, employed thousands of Russians, brought its products to the nation, and has helped Kremlin to look Western more than pictures of shirtless Putin did.
Nine years after the opening of the first IKEA store in Russia, and in the midst of the worst global financial crisis, one would think Russian regions, and especially Kremlin, would want more foreign money and positive PR abroad. IKEA had originally planned to open its new 1,400,000 square feet complex in November 2007 in Samara. But a year and a half later, the store remained closed. The Samara's store's opening was reportedly delayed on eight separate occasions, with local officials refusing each time to supply the necessary documents. The latest objection, according to IKEA, has been that the store is insufficiently resistant to hurricanes. That's a highly unusual requirement, in a region not previously noted for its high-power winds, reported the BusinessWeek. While its sales in Russia have been growing beyond expectation, problems seemed to have been piling up even faster; IKEA has publicly raged again against "blackmail, sabotage and pressure for bribes" from Russian officials. If Kremlin's latest slogan have been "fight with corruption" and "attract foreign investment," can someone help me understand if it's really that hard to imprison the gangsters with government titles who are not only killing the foreign investment (which fell by 45% in 2009), but alsoare hurting Russia's employment, economic development, and image abroad.