Forbes Russia: Minsk is Best Ex–Soviet City for Business
For the first time ever, Forbes Russia presents a ranking of former Soviet cities that attract Russian business. The ranking was aimed at evaluating cities with regard to its business climate and the ease of doing business for Russians.
For the analysis, the Forbes experts chose the capitals and the cities with a population of about one million people. The Russian cities were not considered in the ranking, while Moscow served as an indicator to compare other cities with.
According to the Forbes research, Minsk, Belarus is announced the best city for Russian business throughout the post–Soviet countries. Minsk is followed by the EU cities, namely Tallinn, Estonia and Vilnius, Lithuania. Almaty and Astana, Kazakhstan are the fourth and the fifth respectively, leaving behind Riga, Latvia and Kyiv, Ukraine.
In Minsk, the share of Russians is ten percent and the average salary is US $ 741, which is the highest in Belarus. Minsk casinos that are mostly visited by Russians provide 0.2 percent of tax revenues. Privately owned companies provide 73 percent of the city's budget revenue. In addition, five of ten largest taxpayers in Belarus are completely or partially owned by Russians.
The cities were assessed based on the following criteria:
- Well–being: Gross Regional Product per capita, the average salary in the city, the number of McDonald’s outlets, and the Internet and mobile penetration
- Ties with Russia: the official standing of the Russian language, share of Russians in the city population, presence of the Russian embassies, consulates, and chambers of commerce
- Business environment: the visa regime, ease of real estate acquisition and company registration, and customs regulation.
- Infrastructure: evaluation of dealing with construction permits and network connection by Doing Business, the number of flights daily from/to Russia, and rent fees in A class business centers
- Human resources: the unemployment rate in the city and labor productivity
- Financial system: the ratio of loans to the country’s GDP
- Taxes: the aggregate tax burden on a company
- Security: the peace index of citizens, the number of crimes per 1000 inhabitants, the corruption perception index by Transparency International, and the risk of armed clashes.
Source: Forbes Russia (Russian only)