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Article

Rituals of Opening Ceremonies of Overseas Manufacturing Facilities of Multinational Corporations in Russia

We explore the meaning of rituals of public plant-opening ceremonies, which are popular in many countries and mandatory in Russia for greenfield investment projects implemented by multinational corporations. The study is based on the analysis of videos from the public opening ceremonies supplemented with the analysis of financial data on the studied industrial projects.  We argue that in a country with underdeveloped physical infrastructure and volatile business regulations opening ceremonies for new industrial projects have three implications:  1) such events are festivities which are centered on an exchange of gratitude between foreign investors and the local authorities for their non-opportunistic behavior; and 2) such events serve as “the rite of passage” of a newly-built facility into the local business and social infrastructure; 3) assurances in speeches during opening ceremonies about the long-term nature of industrial projects are taken seriously as obligations and serve as an additional barrier to exit from industrial assets.