Beneath the glitz and the glamour of its oil-fuelled economic boom, Russia’s prosperous capital city of Moscow has become the worst place in the world to do business in, according to a new global survey published by MasterCard.
Moscow, which has been transformed by petrodollars from a dreary Soviet town to a modern neon-lit metropolis in the recent years, came in 50th and last in the survey, which ranked world trade and financial centres by 100 indicators, including ease of doing business, political stability, reliable legal system, absence of corruption and financial sophistication.
London came in first, followed by New York, Tokyo, Chicago and Hong Kong. Just ahead of Moscow were Warsaw, Sao Paolo and Johannesburg. Though Moscow is flooded with cash, that has not translated into better infrastructure, services or business acumen, the survey found.
With just 7 per cent of Russia’s population, Moscow earns 20 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product. With prosperity have come some of the world’s highest prices and most expensive real estate.
Last year a Reader’s Digest survey gave Muscovites the lowest marks in the world for good manners. In April 2007 the global Mercer HR Consulting firm ranked Moscow 171st out of 215 world cities for overall conditions of life.
“There is lots of new money in Moscow, but not much new thinking,” says a political scientist. “It’s clear we have a long way to go to make this place attractive to global businesses.”