Top Business Concepts in Russian

Posted on 19. May, 2016 by in Russian life, when in Russia

man reading business press

Image from Pixabay

We have covered some business phrases on this blog before. This time, let’s concentrate on key business concepts and learn to talk about them in Russian.


First of all, we need to talk about property (собственность). Private property (частная собственность) is thought to be an important condition for entrepreneurship (предпринимательство).

Property may include недвижимое имущество (or недвижимость, real estate) or other assets (активы).


Many businesses are organized as companies (компании). They are often referred to as firms in Russian (фирмы). However, individuals also conduct business as частные предприниматели (sole proprietors/traders).

Many companies will have a boss (начальник) and subordinates (подчиненные). Larger companies will have departments (отделы).


An agreement (соглашение) may be referred to as договор or контракт (both meaning “contract”). Parties to an agreement are called стороны (literally, “sides”). “To sign/close a contract” is “подписать контракт.”

A “deal” (as in “agreement,” not as in “bargain”) is сделка. Agreements are usually subject to terms and conditions (условия).


If we are talking about a traditional manufacturing company, the first step in its product life cycle will likely be производство, production. If there are units being produced, we can also call it выпуск, release.

A product is товар. It may also be called продукт, but beware that this word also has the narrower sense of “groceries.” If we are using “product” as a mass noun for everything the company manufactures, we can also say продукция.


fish stalls

Image from Pexels

The manufacturer may get an order (заказ) for a batch (партия) of their product. There may be a deadline (срок), and the delivery (поставка) may need to be arranged, too.

If we are selling something, we are talking about продажа. The opposite is покупка.

A seller is продавец, and a buyer is покупатель.


The cost of making something is себестоимость. The price you sell it at is цена. If you’re selling something at cost, it’s called продавать по себестоимости, although you probably want to include a mark-up (наценка) in the price. The word стоимость is also sometimes used, meaning “cost” or “value.” You may recognize it from expressions like “налог на дополнительную стоимость” (value added tax).

Supply and demand (usually “спрос и предложение,” literally “demand and supply”) affect the price of goods.

Retailers may offer discounts (скидки) or have special offers (специальные предложения) to attract buyers. Speaking of retailers, to buy something wholesale is купить оптом, and to buy retail is купить в розницу.

Test What You Learned

Last, I’m going to share a passage from a Russian newspaper, with no translation. Try to identify the words you just learned.

Розничные продажи на собственном сайте составляют незначительную часть бизнеса Lucky Child, основные клиенты компании — региональные сети или отдельные магазины, которые продают ее в розницу со средней наценкой 80%. Оксана Алексеева, старший категорийный менеджер сети Prenatal Milano, которая работает с Lucky Child с весны 2016 года, называет преимуществами бренда доступные цены при высоком качестве и локальное производство, которое позволяет получать товар со склада ежемесячно: с иностранными брендами это невозможно.

Try looking at other business publications to see if you recognize any words!

Ten Must-Know Introductory Phrases in Russian — Part II

Posted on 09. May, 2016 by in language

handwritten text

Image from Pixabay

We are continuing from last week’s post about introductory phrases in Russian. These phrases help you bring ideas together in your writing and speaking. Make sure you read the first part for the first five phrases.

6. Кро́ме того́

Кроме того introduces additional information, akin to “besides.”

  • Эта маши́на сли́шком дорога́я. Кроме того́, нам не́где ее паркова́ть. (This car is too expensive. Besides, we have nowhere to park it.)

Similar expressions include поми́мо э́того and бо́лее то́го.

  • Помимо э́того, суро́вый законопро́ект дополни́тельно увели́чивает штраф за езду́ по тротуа́рам и велосипе́дным доро́жкам (In addition, this harsh bill further raises fines for driving on sidewalks and in bicycle lanes). [Мария Клапатнюк. Не заступай! (2013.04.01) // «Новгородские ведомости», 2013]
  • Бо́лее того́, некорре́ктно свя́зывать отме́ну того́ или ино́го нало́га с его неработоспосо́бностью (Moreover, one shouldn’t link the repeal of a certain tax to its inefficiency). [Светлана Сухова. Мы можем просчитать вас полностью (2003) // «Итоги», 2003.01.13]

7. Скоре́е

Скорее is the comparative form of the adverb ско́ро (soon). It is used to say “more precisely” or “most likely.” A variation of this phrase is скоре́е всего́.

  • Ны́нешнее состоя́ние явля́ется, скоре́е, отраже́нием потре́бностей ры́нка, чем техни́ческих возмо́жностей систе́м (The present condition is likely a reflection of market needs rather than of technical capabilities of the system). [Денежные переводы мигрантов — фактор инновационного развития мировой финансовой инфраструктуры // «Вопросы статистики», 2004]
  • Че́рез 15 лет Кита́й, скоре́е всего́, сумее́т вы́садить челове́ка на Луну́ (China will most likely be able to send a person to the moon in 15 years). [К 2040 г. экономическая мощь КНР превысит американскую (2004) // РБК, 2004.09.11]

8. Как обы́чно

Обы́чно is the adverb “usually,” so как обычно means “as usual.” It is handy for commenting on typical events and situations.

  • Мы, как обы́чно, опозда́ли на ле́кцию (As usual, we were late to the lecture).

Other similar expressions are как всегда́ (as always) and как полага́ется (as expected).

  • Всё, как всегда́, вку́сно (Everything is delicious, as always).
  • А жи́ли мы, как полага́ется, в подва́ле (We lived, as one would think, in the basement). [Ю. О. Домбровский. Факультет ненужных вещей, часть 5 (1978)]

9. К сожале́нию

sad dog

Image from Pixabay

Сожале́ние is a noun meaning “regret.” The corresponding verb (to regret) is сожале́ть. К сожале́нию as an introductory phrase means “regrettably” or “unfortunately.”

  • К сожале́нию, я не смогла́ доста́ть биле́ты на бале́т (Sadly, I wasn’t able to get ballet tickets).

10. К сча́стью

К сча́стью (pronounced к ща́стью) is the opposite of к сожалению and means “luckily.” Сча́стье means “happiness,” and “счастливый” means happy.

  • Я с де́тства люблю́ му́зыку, и слон мне на у́хо, к сча́стью, не наступи́л (I’ve loved music since my childhood, and, fortunately, I’m not tone-deaf, either). [Николай Зуев. Ирина Слуцкая – снежная королева (2002) // «100% здоровья», 2002.11.11]

If you open any article or opinion piece, you will likely see at least one of them. What are some of your favorite examples?

Ten Must-Know Introductory Phrases in Russian — Part I

Posted on 05. May, 2016 by in language

writing hand

Image from Pixabay

Please see Part II here.

A comment to a recent post asked me to cover some introductory phrases in Russian. These small words are ubiquitous, especially in argumentative writing like news articles, and they link the ideas in a text to help the reader follow the writer’s logic.

In most cases, introductory words (вво́дные слова́) will be set off by commas. Consult an authoritative reference like Gramota to verify specific use cases.

1. Коне́чно

Коне́чно means “of course” and expresses certainty. It is pronounced коне́шно.

  • Коне́чно, снача́ла мы проведе́м инструкта́ж но́вых сотру́дников (Of course, we will first give some instructions to the new employees).

“Конечно” in Russian is fairly neutral and does not sound condescending as an answer.

  • Ты зна́ешь мою́ ма́му? (Do you know my mother?)
  • Коне́чно! (I certainly do.)

Some synonyms of конечно include разуме́ется (clearly) and несомне́нно (undoubtedly).

2. Мо́жет быть


Image from Pixabay

Мо́жет быть literally translates to “may be” and is similar to its English counterpart. It makes the sentence tentative.

  • Па́ши все еще́ нет до́ма. Мо́жет быть, он задержа́лся на рабо́те. (Pasha [man’s name] still isn’t home. He might have stayed at work late.)

You could also say simply “може́т” in the same sense. Other similar words include возмо́жно (possibly) and вероя́тно (probably).

3. По-мо́ему

This very useful word means “in my opinion, it seems to me that.”

  • Я до́лго объясня́ла свою́ тео́рию, но, по-мо́ему, они ничего́ не по́няли (I explained my theory for a while, but I don’t think they understood anything).

Can we use it to talk about other people’s opinions? We certainly can for ты and вы.

  • Кто, по-тво́ему, победи́т на Еврови́дении? (Who do you think will win the Eurovision Song Contest?)
  • Я, по-ва́шему, совсе́м ничего́ не ви́жу? (Do you think I can’t see anything at all?)

In other cases, use “по ее/его/на́шему/их мне́нию” (in her/his/our/their opinion).

4. Вообще́

Вообще́ conveys the sense of “generally.”

  • Вообще́, мно́гие молоды́е лю́ди по-пре́жнему живу́т с роди́телями (Generally speaking, many young people still live with their parents).

Another variation is вообще́-то.

5. Кста́ти

Кста́ти is used to introduce a comment or a related idea, much like “by the way.”

  • Мое́й ко́шке три го́да. Кста́ти, ты ее не ви́дел? (My cat is three years old. By the way, have you seen her?)

A synonym is между про́чим.

  • Между про́чим, э́той пиани́стке всего́ 12 лет (By the way, this pianist is only 12 years old).

We will continue this list in our next post. Have you come across any of these or other introductory phrases?