Russia And Belarus : New Business Cultures
Many books and articles have been written about business cultures as a subject of
scientific research. The Western world is trying to understand, study, and accommodate
Eastern cultures, especially after the liberalization of the Chinese market; as well as
Islamic culture and traditions, after the discovery of the richest oilfields on the Arabian
peninsula. The Eastern world (Japan, Hong-Kong, Singapore, Korea) would like to
understand and accommodate the Western world with its values and wider markets.
Russia and Belarus have been attracting the attention of business circles since the time of
Perestroika at the end of the 1980's.
Unfortunately, the beginning of the new century is darkened by the attacks on the World
Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and Flight 93 in
Pennsylvania. A new spark of interest toward the Islamic world and cultures is caused by
all of the mental phenomena of Islamic subcultures. Growing numbers of extremists are
all ready to give their own lives to destroy thousands of lives of innocent people.
A culture, especially the part which is connected to art, became a subject of my interest
and hobby at the beginning of the 1980's. During those years I worked in Minsk in one of
the research institutions that specialized in the field of corporate management. All of my
spare time, however, was devoted to reading books on art.
On the 175th anniversary of the birthday of the French impressionist Edouard Manet
(1832-1883), the USSR released a beautiful stamp of Manet's self-portrait. I decided to
write my first cultural article about Manet for a Soviet philatelist magazine. I spent a
number of evenings in the scientific library studying Manet's biography and pictures of
his art issued in the USSR. I was delighted when the article was published soon after that.
Many years passed, but I could still remember the feeling that I experienced when
describing one of Manet's works, The Bar at the Folies Bergere. In 1999, I went to
England to the Charted Institute of Marketing. In my hotel room, I found an advertising
booklet on sightseeing in London and discovered, much to my delight, that The Bar at the
Folies Bergere was nearby in the Courtauld Institute in London. The painting is still
displayed at that location. The next day I traveled to London by train, found the gallery,
ran to the fourth floor, and there I saw the actual painting live. I had been anticipating
that moment for sixteen years! It was a date with my youth.
Years have passed since I wrote the original article and then was able to see the actual
painting. I wrote my dissertation on management, wrote two books, dozens of scientific
articles, lectured in Minsk at the Belarusian Economic University, and later at the
Institute for Privatization and Management. I never thought I would be able to write
about culture or art again because culture as a topic of scientific work demands, in my
opinion, a language quite different from the strict academic language I use in my
professional life. When I started to write this book, I felt much the same way I did when