Russia managed to rise significantly in the World Bank's ranking of countries' business environment despite a deep recession and sanctions imposed by the West for its aggressions in Ukraine.
The World Bank reported October 27 that Russia's "Doing Business" rating rose 11 points because of reforms addressing the registration of property, power supply reliability, and the transparency of electricity tariffs, among other measures.
The big jump in ratings raised Russia from 62nd place worldwide to 51st place -- just shy of President Vladimir Putin's stated goal of raising Russia ranking to 50 by 2015. Russia ranked as low as 120th in the world in 2011.
Some Central Asian countries whose economies are tied to Russia's economy also improved markedly during the year.
The World Bank listed among its top 10 "improvers" Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.
The report, now in its 13th year, looks at the regulatory environment for small and medium-sized companies to see how it hampers or helps them conduct business, from starting up and paying taxes to registering property and trading across borders.
"A modern economy cannot function without regulation and, at the same time, it can be brought to a standstill through poor and cumbersome regulation," said Kaushik Basu, World Bank chief economist.