When speaking at an international strategic conference in Moscow, Daniel Thorniley, the Senior Vice President of the Economist group, said that Russia's image in the world of business has been steadily improving, many of the western entrepreneurs finally having understood that being a Mafiosi and being a Russian entrepreneur are not synonyms. In Mr. Thorniley's opinion, much of foreign investment into Russia was stalled because of a wide-spread fear of doing business with criminals. The Economist top executive pointed out that most of the US and European businessmen with a lot of experience on the Russian market had managed to penetrate into the complex Russian system of personal relationships that are part of the region's specifics. 'In fact, many of the problems are created when one does not understand how crucial personal relationships are in the Russian business. Applying the law down to the letter often leads to crime and corruption being exposed,' he sighed. Ernst&Young's Executive Partner Steven MusBrugger also noted the fall of criminality in Russia. He also spoke of electronic, video- and audio- pirating in Russia, saying that the phenomena was flourishing, while the government hardly does anything to combat it.