Holden, Nigel John, Kuznetsov, Andrei and Whitelock, Jeryl
Russia's struggle with the language of marketing in the communist and post-communist eras.
Business History, 50
The status and understanding of marketing in the USSR and post-Soviet Russia are tracked over a 40-year period, making extensive use of Russian-language sources. In the late Soviet period marketing is seen as a Western business system that was not applicable to an economy based on extreme centralisation and state-inspired conditions of shortage. With the collapse of communism, marketing is variously seen as still not quite suitable for Russian conditions, as a sales support activity or as a branch of public relations. At the same time great confusion arises over the nature of marketing owing to the problems of converting Western marketing terms into Russian, for which there are often no equivalents. Translations of Western marketing textbooks reveal translators' unabated struggles with marketing terminology and the unsatisfactory results. Literal translations, where possible, or direct transliteration into Russian merely add to the confusion. It is argued that this state of affairs is symptomatic of a wider unease about the market economy and scepticism about its relevance for Russia.