Russian Federation: Enforcement Of International Arbitration Awards In Russia

Last Updated: 21 June 2007
Article by Maxim Kulkov

Foreign arbitration awards are recognized and enforced in Russia by virtue of international treaties to which Russia is an assignee or according to the principle of reciprocity. Since the vast majority of countries have joined the New York Convention, the most common way to enforce a foreign award in Russia is under the said convention.

The Russian Arbitration Code provides for application for recognition and enforcement of a foreign arbitration award to be filed with an arbitrage court at the place of the debtor’s domicile or, if unknown, at the place where the debtor’s assets are located. Unfortunately, the law does not clarify what to do if the debtor’s domicile is abroad. If such is the case, in some instances courts have denied enforcement because the law does not stipulate which court has jurisdiction.

A request for enforcement of an award should be submitted within three years of the date when such a final award was rendered.

A court ruling on enforcement may be appealed in the court of cassation, which can uphold the original ruling, render a new decision or remand the case back to the initial court. The ruling of the court of cassation is final and comes into force immediately. It should be noted that there is also the possibility of challenging the ruling before the Supreme Arbitration Court of Russia, but the Supreme Court accepts cases for reconsideration only in exceptional circumstances.

When a ruling on judgment recognition and enforcement is obtained, the court issues a writ of execution. If the debtor does not voluntarily execute the judgment, the claiming party initiates an execution procedure, which is equivalent to one for execution of domestic judgments. This is done through the bailiff service as set forth in the Law on Execution Procedure. Bailiffs are responsible for searching for, attaching and selling the debtor’s assets.

On average, it might take from six to 20 months from submission of the request for enforcement to the time the claimant actually receives money, depending on the number of court instances the claimant passes through and the condition of the debtor’s assets.

Interim Measures

If interim relief is sought in the course of arbitration that has a seat in Russia, the plaintiff may file a request with the arbitration court at the seat of arbitration or the location of the defendant or its assets. The court procedure is the same as for litigating parties. Unfortunately, Russian law does not provide for the possibility of securing interim measures through courts during arbitration with its seat abroad. Moreover, an order on interim measures issued by arbitrators (the seat of arbitration is irrelevant in this case) cannot be enforced through the courts since such an order is not considered by Russian courts as a final award.

Consequently, it is impossible to obtain interim measures in Russia during the course of arbitration with its seat abroad. In order to avoid this risk, the party entering into an arbitration agreement should insist that the seat of arbitration be Russia if the issue of interim relief is of great importance to said party.

Denial Of Enforcement On The Grounds Of Contravention Of Public Policy

Russian courts are sometimes reluctant to recognize and enforce international commercial arbitration awards. Since the grounds for refusing enforcement is limited by the New York Convention, contravention of public policy often serves as the ultima ratio for rejecting enforcement. In some instances, public policy is understood by the courts too vaguely. One notorious court case illustrating this point is United World Ltd. vs. Krasny Yakor (Red Ancor). In this case, the court denied enforcement of an arbitration award of less than $40,000 on the grounds that its enforcement would lead to Red Ancor’s bankruptcy and would consequently cause serious damage to the regional economy where the debtor was domiciled and to the economy of Russia; such damages thus were in contravention of Russian public policy. In many other cases, public policy has not been understood in such a strange way, but some courts tend to consider contravention of mandatory Russian rules as contravention of Russian public policy. To avoid said risk, the contractual provisions, even if governed by a foreign law, should be reviewed for compliance with mandatory Russian laws.

Denial Of Enforcement On The Grounds Of Procedural Violations

In general, Russian courts take a very formal approach to evidence. The judges are quite reluctant to accept e-mails, copies of documents not notarized, witness evidence, etc. For example, in Forever Maritime vs. Mashimport, the court denied enforcement of the award on the grounds that the defendant was not notified properly of the time and place of the hearing. The court rejected copies of correspondence between the parties proving the fact of proper notification because the translation of those letters into Russian was not notarized. In another case, Sophocles Star Shipping Inc. vs. Technopromexport, a mistake in the name of the claimant contained in the award and in the time-charter contract (Sophocles Star Shipping Co. Ltd.) was used as grounds to deny enforcement by the Moscow court and the Moscow Court of Cassation. The courts held that the contract containing the arbitration clause was concluded with Sophocles Star Shipping Co. Ltd., while the request for enforcement was brought by Sophocles Star Shipping Inc. Since the latter was not a party to the arbitration agreement, the agreement was deemed invalid. Only when the case came to the Supreme Court, the court held that the question of the agreement’s validity was beyond the scope of consideration during an enforcement procedure under the New York Convention.

To avoid such problems, it is advisable to focus considerable attention on formalities when entering into an arbitration agreement and during the course of arbitration (e.g., to make sure that the documents contain the right names of the parties and the arbitration tribunal, and to duplicate procedural notifications by registered post).

Denial Of Enforcement On The Grounds Of Invalidation Of Contracts Containing An Arbitration Clause

It is a quite common tactic for defendants to use a third party to invalidate a contract containing an arbitration clause through the arbitration court. By Russian law, in some instances, a third party whose rights are violated by somebody’s contract can challenge this contact in court. In Uralskiye Zavody (Ural Plants) vs. Quality Steel and Bummash, the claimant – a shareholder in Bummash – challenged the contract between Quality Steel and Bummash as a transaction violating the Ural Plants shareholder’s rights. Quality Steel’s argument that the contract contained an arbitration clause and could not, therefore, be litigated was rejected because Ural Plants was not a party to the agreement. Such invalidation of a contract may in some cases be used later on as grounds for refusing enforcement of an arbitration award, since referral of the dispute to arbitration was made in the invalid contact.

Slow Execution

One problem arising during execution is lack of cooperation on the part of the bailiffs in collecting information about the debtor’s assets and selling the assets. To speed up the process, the collecting party should always monitor the procedure and assist the bailiffs in searching for the debtor’s property (e.g., check that all procedural formalities made by the bailiffs are correct in order to avoid any appeals by the debtor; hire detectives to find the property).

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Mondaq Advice Centre (MACs)
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.