The first two attitudes are typically engrained into the cultural perspective of Russian SMEs; these approaches areoften regarded by entrepreneurs as well as the society at large as a significant improvement over more candidcorruption practices of the previous decade (Paneyakh, 2008). More the point, the distinction between bribery andsponsorship might become hazy in Russia, as evidenced by the Transneft case. In the first half of 2011, Transneft,the state-owned oil transportation monopolist, transferred over 80 million US dollars, or roughly 80% of its totalCSR spending during that period, to an obscure charity directed by the head of the Department of PresidentialAffairs (a structural unit of the Administration of the President of Russia). Moreover, this information was notdisclosed by the company willingly but only following a direct ruling of the court; the standard practice before that,at least for Transneft, was to only release the total sum spent on CSR this year (Gavshina, 2011). Transneft case isby no means unique or exceptional for Russian business context, which suggests that to properly assess CSRinitiatives and practices of Russian companies one should inexorably dissect
the general ethics of the company’s
behaviour and also carefully examine whether a particular CSR initiative creates actual value for the society and/orcommunity. Both aspects are considered in detail in a model developed by Porter and Kramer (2006). The authorsof this model assert a strategic viewpoint focusing on interdependencies between the business and society and theneed for business to maintain a long-term dynamic perspective; this adds further value to the model in thisparticular case since most Russian companies manifest a narrow, short-term, tactical outlook in their CSR activities,even if they claim to be development-oriented and socially concerned (Gontmacher, 2004).Nevertheless, the concept of corporate social responsibility as an integral part of business strategy, related both tocore values of the company and its patterns of execution, is gaining more and more followers among Russianbusinesses. A notable case is presented by Yota, a regional wireless broadband network operator headquartered inSaint Petersburg. Founded in 2008, the company became
first WiMax operator; in late 2011 the firstcommercial LTE network in Russia was launched (Yota, 2011), str
engthening Yota’s position as core innovator in 4G
mobile communication technologies. Although the company does not provide detailed financial information, theircurrent customer base of 700,000 (Yota, 2012) suggests a rough estimate of 80 to 120 million US dollars in annualrevenue. As a minor player in burgeoning telecom market and a successful innovative start-up, highly dependenton capabilities in both technology and design, Yota identifies its key stakeholders to be the state, competitors andsubstitute service providers (i.e. mobile network and broadband operators), service users and members of the
general public who share the company’
s passion about combining modern design and technology.