There are few jurisdictions with which Russia has an agreement for reciprocal enforcement of court judgments, or in relation to which a principle of reciprocity may apply.
However, Russia is a party to the 1958 New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, and an arbitral award obtained in another signatory jurisdiction should be enforceable by a Russian court. For this reason, it is common to provide for the jurisdiction of international arbitration in credit agreements, although consideration of the jurisdiction of foreign courts may still be relevant, in particular if the Russian obligor has assets abroad. Moreover, according to recent case law, Russian courts quite consistently recognise and enforce judgments made in the United Kingdom. In doing so, the Russian courts usually refer to the principles of international comity and reciprocity and confirm that, to the extent Russian judgments are recognised and enforced in the United Kingdom, UK judgments should also be recognised and enforced in Russia.
There used to be a practice in Russia under which a loan agreement governed by a foreign law would provide for a so-called “optional arbitration clause”. Such clauses provide one party (usually the lender) with the exclusive right to bring a claim either in arbitration or in court, while the other party’s (borrower’s) right is limited to arbitration. In line with case law, such an optional arbitration clause may be interpreted by the Russian courts as giving the borrower the right to bring a claim in court so that both parties enjoy the same rights. Therefore, the current prevailing practice is to use international arbitration as the only option in foreign law governed loan agreements.