Putin’s newly announced COVID-19 crisis response, point by point
On March 25, Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed the nation as confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country spiked to 658. During the speech, which was broadcast on state television channels, Putin announced an indefinite delay in the constitutional vote that could allow him to stay in office until 2036. He also listed a new set of steps the federal government plans to take to protect public health and the economy as the new coronavirus spreads. Here’s a list of the measures Putin promised.
- In the week of March 28 – April 5, all non-essential work will be suspended, and workers will receive paid leave. Emergency services, medical services, pharmacies, stores, and banks will remain open.
Economic support for individuals
- All social welfare payments and benefits will be automatically extended for six months. Citizens who receive benefits will not have to continue demonstrating eligibility during that time.
- All families eligible for parental benefits will receive 5,000 rubles ($63) per month, multiplied by the number of children under four years old, in the course of the next three months.
- Payments for families with children between the ages of three and seven will begin a month early, in June instead of July.
- By the end of the year, minimum sick leave payments will be established on a federal level to match Russia’s minimum wage regardless of a worker’s rank. The minimum wage is currently 12,130 rubles ($153) per month.
- Unemployment payments will be set to equal the minimum wage.
- Celebratory welfare payments marking the 75th anniversary of the Soviet victory in World War II will begin ahead of schedule, in April.
- A credit holiday will be instituted to suspend fines on unpaid purchases and mortgages. The suspension will apply to individuals whose income decreases by more than 30 percent as a result of the pandemic.
Economic support for businesses
- Credits for entrepreneurs in coronavirus-affected industries will be extended.
- Russia’s bankruptcy procedures will be made “stronger and less burdensome.”
- Small and mid-sized businesses will be given more time to pay all taxes except for value-added taxes in the course of the next six months.
- Microbusinesses [i.e. companies with 15 employees or fewer that make no more than 120 million rubles ($1.52 million) in income] will be given more time to make federal welfare payments.
- Small and mid-sized businesses that experience financial hardship amid the crisis will have their credit payments delayed for six months.
- A six-month moratorium on bankruptcy applications will be put in place for companies hit by the coronavirus pandemic. Tax and fee collection from those companies will also be suspended.
- All workers whose salary is greater than the minimum wage will indefinitely have their payments into federal welfare services decreased from 30 percent to 15 percent. Workers paid the minimum wage or less will continue to pay 30 percent.
- Dividends that are transferred from Russia into offshore accounts will face a 15-percent income tax.
- A 13-percent tax will be applied to individual income gained from bank deposits and long-term bonds if those investments exceed one million rubles ($12,670).
Translation by Hilah Kohen