The paper describes findings of a 1999-2000 sociological survey among small businesses in the retail trade in Moscow.
Empirical findings have revealed inertia rooted in initial stage of current changes still felt among small
businesses. Their mission is often seen largely not as an economic, but as a - primarily - social one -
easing pressures in labor market created by large-scale lay-off of the early 1990's. Also, comparison of
data obtained to a model 'ideal type' of entrepreneurs shows a deficit of basic qualities essential for this
social group. 'Favorable climate' for small businesses is perceived as paramount for success in this sector
of economy by agents related to 'administering' this sphere at various levels of Moscow government. Yet
macro-trends in Russian economy and society (legislation, law enforcement, taxation, etc.) are clearly
outside powers of Moscow authorities. Wide spread poverty is also contributing to prevent formation of
optimal retail trade forms in Russia's capital.