RED TAPE & TAXES: There are growing concerns that Russia's burdensome bureaucracy and corruption are holding back the country's economy, by subjecting small and medium-sized businesses to arbitrary fines, bribes and hefty taxes.
SLOWING ECONOMY: As leaders of 20 of the world's biggest economies gather in St Petersburg for their annual summit this week, Russia is raising concern. With oil and gas exports slowing, the country's economic growth has been on a downward path since the start of last year and there is a possibility of recession.
BUSINESSES CLOSING: The private sector has seen its tax burden increase to support higher government salaries and pensions, leading many to shut down. And views on for-profit businesses left over from the Soviet days add to other woes that make it hard to operate legitimately, leading many business owners into the black market.