In comparison to the Western world, business culture in Russia is more often than not one of confrontation and of mutual tests of strength, especially in the construction sector. Hence the important volumes of court decisions carrying the authority of res judicata to settle a dispute, while alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods such as mediation relying on the parties’ bona fide have been much less used so far.

In this regard, the recent adoption on July 27, 2010 of Federal Laws 193-FZ and 194-FZ improving the legal regime of Mediation (the Mediation Laws) can be seen as a bold and satisfying legislative move to complete the legal framework of ADR in Russia and stimulate the use of these methods (the arbitration legal regime has indeed been settled for long already by Federal Laws of July 7, 1993 and July 24, 2002). These Mediation Laws will come into force on January 1, 2011. […]

The World Bank and IFC have recently reported that Russia’s current energy inefficiency is equal to the annual primary energy consumption of France. Indeed, the low local cost of energy, a mainly declarative legislation on environmental efficiency and little public interest have long kept Russia out of the global warming debate, and far away from the exotic issue of green buildings.

This trend is hopefully coming to an end with the recent enactment of a new law with compulsory requirements on energy saving and efficiency. This marks a clear ambition by Russian policymakers and will probably enhance the nascent interest in green buildings of the main players in the real estate industry, who were severely hit by the current crisis and seek new growth opportunities.