(Avov/Wikimedia)

Russia has become somewhat of a Big Law wasteland in recent years.

The country spent much of the late 1990s and early 2000s as one of the world’s hottest legal markets, with international firms investing heavily in Moscow—and to a lesser extent, St. Petersburg—in order to feast on the glut of big-ticket IPO and M&A deals. But Russia’s economy—and its legal market—have been severely affected by a combination of crippling economic sanctions and the continued slump in global oil prices. Most top U.S. and U.K. firms have radically scaled back in the country by relocating partners to other offices and implementing local hiring freezes and layoffs.

But there have been growing signs of life of late, with Baker Botts and Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan both announcing senior hires in Russia on Wednesday.

Quinn Emanuel has brought in disputes partner Kirill Parinov as its new Moscow managing partner to replace Ivan Marisin, who has left the firm to join Baker Botts alongside fellow disputes partner Vasily Kuznetsov.

The loss of Marisin is a rare blow for Quinn Emanuel, which is currently in talks to hire a three-partner team from Shearman & Sterling’s Brussels base, including office head Stephen Mavroghenis and highly regarded competition partner Trevor Soames. Marisin is one of Russia’s top arbitrators and helped Quinn Emanuel launch its Moscow office when he joined the firm from Dechert in 2011. He joins Baker Botts as co-chair of its international disputes practice. But in Parinov, Quinn Emanuel has found a replacement with a strong reputation and considerable industry experience, having spent more than eight years as general counsel of Norilsk Nickel, Russia’s largest mining company, and Interros, an investment company owned by Russian oligarch Vladimir Potanin.

Quinn Emanuel managing partner John Quinn said in a statement that Parinov is “an ambitious lawyer and shares our vision about the future direction of the Moscow office.”

Baker Botts managing partner Andrew Baker, meanwhile, said that his firm’s hires were a demonstration of “the commitment that we have made to continue to grow our international network.”

The moves follow London-based Berwin Leighton Paisner’s recruitment of Moscow partner Sergey Milanov from K&L Gates last month.