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With small businesses suffering, Putin faces criticism over shutdown

MOSCOW Left with no revenue as a result of the coronavirus lockdown, Dmitry Volodin, the co-owner of many night clubs in Moscow, says he’s getting deficient official promote, and he has not got thought how he can keep spending money his staff amazing payments.

President Vladimir Putin recently offered many Russians the remainder of the month off, tends start the development along the novel coronavirus, but said the managers must keep spending money team members. Many regions have gone into lockdown, purchasing people to live home.

“They say ‘pay the salaries’, but no one explains where you’re supposed to get the money from,” Volodin said. “It will murder the (establishment and nightclub) profession. Many of them might not make it through.”

Small and medium-sized businesses have voiced anger and warned of mass bankruptcies in petitions to the government, including one with more than 250,000 signatures, illustrating the headwinds Putin faces as he tries to counter the virus.

Critics point to how other countries have offered to pay workers; Britain, for example, pays up to 80% of wages. They also note Russia’s huge gold and forex reserves, around $550 billion.

Putin’s approval rating remains high, but it fell last month from 69% to 63%, near where it stood before Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, an event which sent his ratings surging, according to the Levada Centre.

Compounded by the collapse of oil prices, anger from businesses comes at a delicate moment for Putin. He is pushing through constitutional reforms that would allow him to run for president again and, potentially, extend his rule until 2036.

“This is a extremely serious following test for Putin,” said Andrei Kolesnikov, a political analyst at the Moscow Carnegie Centre.

“He has just missing that in fact class, some of which held up him, many of which didn’t – your the personal and aggressive industries. These people are probably not definitely going to support him now.”


Putin on March 25 announced a nationwide week off for many and said small businesses would be allowed to pay less national insurance for staff and to defer tax payments and, in some cases, loan repayments for six months.

“Of course, this will not helps live. It will only be of aid to those that get through. A moratorium on rental is the thing that we want and there isn’t one,” Volodin said.

Putin then extended the holiday for the rest of April and said salaries must be paid.

An online petition with more than a quarter of a million signatures reads: “The a mortgage work is sitting on a pile of cash, while business is playing personal bankruptcy and people is being disadvantaged.”

A joke doing the rounds online goes: “Putin strolls towards a club and orders everyone a beer – on the family home.”

Asked about worried entrepreneurs on Friday, the Kremlin said the situation was unprecedented and changing rapidly, but that businesses should tap support measures such as tax holidays that had already been made available.

“The government is naturally monitoring the matter very little daily as every hour, and regarding how it springs up, a scenario of aid calculates will probably be built up,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

On Monday, the government announced a 150 billion-rouble programme under which banks will offer interest-free loans to small businesses to pay salaries.

But that has done little to calm people like Dariya Kaminskaya, the owner of a car repair shop where work has dried up. She says she had already had to pay her seven employees out of her own pocket.

“This is how revolutions were actually started in the past, from the proletariat,” she said. “The outlook is sniveling.”