Abstract Since the fall of Communism, Western firms have been investing in Russia's promising market, primarily through strategic alliances and joint ventures. Many of these Western firms have encountered significant challenges in managing relations with Russian organizations still carrying values and practices aligned with a centrally-controlled economic system. ‘Culture clashes’ between Russian and Western partners frequently jeopardize alliance relations. This article presents a framework identifying key characteristics of Russian business culture that are likely to conflict with Western business culture. Alan Wilkins' ‘culture audit’ is used to synthesize previous cross-cultural research and analyze 18 in-depth interviews of Western executives and managers experienced with negotiating and managing Russian-Western alliances. Recommendations are proposed for managing differences in the business cultures for alliance success.