As the U.S.S.R. unraveled in 1991, a group of American businessmen informally created the American Business Club (ABC) to unite the American business community in Russia and aid each other in working towards common goals. In the summer of 1993, the ABC applied to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C., to formally open a chamber in Russia. On Jan. 13, 1994, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Lloyd Bentsen and U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher were present at the official launch in Moscow of the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia.
Fundamental decisions made in that first year still guide the Chamber today, such as the choice to position AmCham as a resource to the Russian Federation government in designing business legislation. To establish its credibility, AmCham identified key individuals in both the Russian and American governments and focused on creating close, working relationships with them. Since then, the Chamber has continued to develop its reputation as a reliable business advocacy organization and its membership has grown over 600 percent since 1994, currently topping 600 corporate member companies.