The impact of Swiss sanctions against Russia on the Swiss-Russian business environment

Zurich, 13.03.2022 - In order to assess the impact and the perception of the new sanctions by Switzerland on the Swiss-Russian business environment, The Swiss Russian Chamber of Commerce (hereafter "SRCC") reached out to its multinational network and conducted an online survey. Entrepreneurs and experts, based both in Switzerland and in Russia and active mostly with small and medium-sized businesses, were invited to give a firsthand account of their mindset and plans.

Sanctions will affect small and medium-sized businesses in Russia, but will have an even bigger impact on those located in Switzerland

According to the SRCC network, small and medium-sized businesses located in Switzerland and Russia will be impacted mostly by two measures: restrictions on travel (64%) and limitations on payment transactions (62%). The next largest factors, as reported by around 35% of the participants, were anticipated to be the reduced access to financial assets, the difficulties anticipated with importing and exporting goods and services, and hindered participation in international organizations and networks.

However, the survey reveals a surprising insight: SRCC entrepreneurs and experts from Switzerland are already more affected than their Russian counterparts by one of the nine sanctions listed in the questionnaire (an average of 4.4 sanctions for businesses in Switzerland, and 3.5 sanctions for those in Russia). The sanctions were also reported to affect a larger proportion of small and medium-sized businesses in Switzerland than in Russia, as demonstrated in figure 1. This underlines not only the widened scope of the new sanctions, but also the commercial volume of their application.

Figure 1.
Which of the following sanctions against Russia will mostly impact your business?

Impacts on staffing and investment

For many respondents located in Switzerland, the sanctions will have a direct impact on strategic projects. Fifty-six percent (56%) of entrepreneurs and experts indicated that these projects were either paused or even canceled. Follow-on impacts on staffing included direct personnel reductions (39%), office closures (17%) and even business closures (24%). These phenomena will also be accelerated by difficulties to access investment (34%) and financial assets (46%).

For respondents located in Russia, however, the anticipated business closures resulting from the new sanctions are estimated to be very limited (4%) and staff reductions, moderate (19%). SRCC respondents based in Russia are already looking for new suppliers (27%). In this regard, Swiss-based suppliers may see their chances to be chosen greatly reduced. Two thirds (67%) of Russia-based respondents consider that the new sanctions will impact their decisions on whether or not they will choose suppliers based in Switzerland. The perception of Switzerland as a neutral and business-friendly country has been damaged, according to 64% of SRCC respondents based in Russia.

Figure 2.
As a consequence, what kind of measures does your company take or plan?

In Russia, the transformation of small and medium businesses has already started

Whether the respondents are in Switzerland or in Russia, the SRCC network assumes that the sanctions will not be lifted within the next 12 months (68%). As a consequence, small and medium-sized organizations had to react and plan commercial countermeasures. As global brands and financial institutions leave Russia, the transformation process has already started. While international businesses close their doors, their own operational teams have begun to gather and re-create local legal entities and local brands. “We already witnessed how small and medium-sized businesses, consultancies and startups decided to anticipate future difficulties. Our Swiss-Russian network is looking for insights about upcoming developments as well as partners for negotiation, in order to deal with the existing situation and open a new chapter.” said Svetlana Chiriaeva, President of the Swiss Russian Chamber of Commerce

Possible direct support from governments is seen to have only a limited effect on the future business developments. A majority of SRCC respondents do not expect financial support from their state (66%).

About the survey

This survey, called “The impact of Swiss sanctions against Russia on the Swiss-Russian business environment”, was released on March 6th by the SRCC, and remains available over the next few weeks. Responses reported herein were collected up until March 13th. We will continue to collect feedback and compare trends.. This initial analysis was performed based on a sample size of 80 entrepreneurs and experts with a Swiss-Russian background (including factors such as nationality, work experience, business relations, language skills and family relations). They are exclusively located in Switzerland or in Russia, with responses from other locations omitted. The entire submission process was performed online.

Here is a link to the survey:

About the Swiss Russian Chamber of Commerce

The Swiss Russian Chamber of Commerce (known as SRCC) supports private companies, public organizations and individuals by growing to become the most popular and collaborative business network in it's domain. SRCC is a non-profit association, open to all institutions and individuals that have an interest in building bridges between Russia and Switzerland. The Swiss Russian Chamber of Commerce is an officially registered entity and has its headquarters in Zurich.

>>> Follow us on LinkedIn

Again, the Swiss Russian Chamber of Commerce is a business association financed by its members, mostly small and medium-sized organizations. We are not involved in political matters. We express again our steadfast support to all persons and civilian entities which oppose war. Please read our official statement, which you can find hereIf you want to read our official statement.


Svetlana Chiriaeva

Swiss Russian Chamber of Commerce
Dufourstrasse 60
8000 Zurich


I would like to receive the SRCC newsletter.