DI Paul Bruck

 Managing Director Bruck Consult Austria (owner)
Managing Director Most Management Russia (owner)
Shareholder of Most Service and Balashova Bruck & Partners (main shareholder)
President of Austrian Economic Forum
Member of the board of the Association of European Businesses

How long have you been here?
I first came here in 1987, when I was working with Dow Chemicals. This was during the time of Gorbachev, of Perestroika. My job was to work on agricultural field trials to show western technology. We managed an experimental farm in the then Kalininsky Oblast (now Tver), called ‘Путь к коммунизму’ (Road to Communism). We divided fields into two, one half used traditional soviet methods and the other used new technology; and yields rose threefold in the half that used our technology. I got that job because, among other things, I learned Russian in school, in the Theresianum, the only Austrian school, where Russian is taught obligatory, so one of the few with at least some Russian skills.

In 1990 I switched over to IT and worked for an Italian company that was the first to introduce barcodes into the Russian market. This was one of the very first joint ventures in Russia, and living in Russia was quite an experience then. I remember somebody telling me, that either you love or you hate Russia. From 1992 I was based in Vienna where my family was, and used to commute here every month or so, just for a couple of days. In 2006, I left that business and started my own consultancy business, out of Vienna. My first project was with Russia, my second project also with Russia, and my third project was with Russia. I got the message quite clearly that I should be in Russia.

The business grew and we realized that it was not enough to offer only consultancy, we went into partnership with a legal company, and then we expanded into accountancy, outsourcing and management, as well as legal.

Who are your clients?
They are mostly companies from German speaking countries, typical SME companies, startups as well as established ones.

How are things now?
Not so bad. All through the crisis, which is slowly coming to an end, we managed to keep afloat because our management and accounting business is quite stable. We slowly grow. Even during the peak of the crisis, we were still founding new companies for clients. Our clients come from different branches. Companies investing in Russia see a long-term perspective. It is not so much the sanctions it is more an economic crisis, which we are in. There were many large projects which started before the crisis; I am talking about huge investments made into Russia. The mentality of the people who run those companies, is that the present crisis is only temporary, something that had a beginning and will have an end. And new statistics show that Russia is still one of the leading investments markets in Europe.

What do you think of living in Russia?
I made a strategic decision to move here. And I have not regretted it. My wife commutes between Vienna and Moscow and loves it here, and my second son finished his studies in Moscow and Marseille, and now works here for a large bank.

How well do you know Russia?
I have always travelled a lot and now mainly because of my bicycle project with Red Bull I have travelled through Russia extensively. I made the route from Moscow to Vladivostok already five times. And the more often I travel through this enormous country the more I love it and especially its people.

Does anything upset you?
Present politics! And people talking about Russia, who have never been here. Russians, who believe that anywhere in the world it is better than here.

You also run the Austrian Economic Forum?
Yes, this forum is a business-orientated club for Austrians and for friends of Austria. We meet once a month, in a comfortable environment, and the emphasis is on networking. We have German, Austrian and Russian members, and this is a really useful focus for the Austrian business community.

To find out more about the Austrian Economic Forum, contact: www.austrianeconomicforum.ru