The agenda includes efforts to bring back Russian nationals from abroad, preparedness of the regions to combat the spread of the coronavirus, and measures to support economic sectors.
Mikhail Mishustin’s opening remarks:
Good morning, let’s begin our work.
Before proceeding to the agenda, I would like to mention a number of highly urgent subjects.
Speaking of the efforts to organise the return of Russian nationals currently abroad, I would like to emphasise that Russia was not refusing to bring back its citizens from other countries. We never forget our people; just the opposite, during such a situation when borders are closed and flights cancelled, we are making every effort to bring back all those who want to come back. All they have to do is submit an application on the public services website.
I am addressing all Russian nationals currently abroad. Sadly, the emergency response centre has faced many cases when citizens submitted applications for return flights but never turned up to get their flights. This then resulted in an aircraft flying to their home countries empty, while those who really needed to fly could not get on a flight. We ask you to act more responsibly and to only submit applications if you need to return home immediately. Having full and objective information will allow us to organise the job more efficiently and promptly bring you back home to your families and friends. The Government is making every effort to do this.
The submitted applications will be used for
organising flights. The schedule of the first flights will be posted later on today,
and these flights will be implemented. The information on such flights will be
posted on the стопкоронавирус.рф website as well as the public services
Based on the provided information those, who planned to fly back home to Russia but were unable to do so due to their flights being cancelled, will receive financial aid during their stay abroad until their return or regular flights are resumed. The Government has allocated 500 million roubles to the Foreign Ministry. These funds will primarily go towards paying for our citizens’ temporary accommodation in foreign countries, due to the fact that not all of them are in a position to do this without some support. Of course, such people need urgent help. Our embassies and consulates abroad are ready to render such assistance.
After the application is made funds will be transferred to a person’s bank account within 48 hours. Such funds will start to arrive already today.
Many countries are trying to help other nationals who were obliged to stay behind. Such help includes extending visas. The Russian Government is providing similar support to everybody who has had to remain in Russia and so far cannot return home. We are counting on the understanding of our foreign partners in this respect.
The readiness of the regions to deal with the coronavirus infection. The President plans to hold a conference call with the governors and heads of the Russian regions in the near future. A discussion would take place on if the necessary number of additional in-patient beds are available and also if there is sufficient equipment and medicine as well as of course, if there is enough skilled medical personnel to render timely assistance to those who are ill and those who are suspected of having the disease.
The Government has allocated significant funds to the regions for the measures against the coronavirus. It is important for us to know how efficiently these sums are spent. We have adopted a proactive approach to curb the spread of the virus all over the country. Any delay works against us and will make preventive measures more difficult.
Most Russian regions have adopted emergency response measures. I want to thank all of our citizens who are bearing with the self-isolation and complying with its requirements.
The Presidential executive order provided regional heads with additional powers to let them define the most optimal restrictive measures depending on the situation in their regions. Overall, most regional heads have managed to cope with the task.
At the same time, last week showed that there have been precedents when the heads of some regions closed the administrative borders, restricting the entry of people and transport to their areas. The Government’s signals about the unacceptability of such measures were heeded and the situation was remedied last weekend. However, I would like to address regional heads once again: please do not confuse regional and federal powers. All restrictions should be adequate and correspond to the real situation and, of course, to the measures adopted by the President and the federal Government.
President Putin spoke about this at a meeting with permanent members of the Security Council. He emphasised that during a quarantine it is not appropriate to use the same measures everywhere and to undermine economic activity without a good reason.
Another important issue: people have been actively using remote services of late, including online trade and delivery of food and goods. The services and companies that are engaged in this are doing everything to help people self-isolate and ease their everyday life.
Instead of supporting such companies, some regions are hindering the work of cargo companies and retailers, to the extent that they are stopping trucks at the entrance to regions and even closing pickup points to prevent couriers from delivering their orders. There have been many such complaints. I would like to remind you that the decision of the Government to suspend offline retail trade which is not dealing with food and basic commodities does not cover online trade. It is not acceptable to make their work more difficult by issuing unjustified restrictions. It is necessary to adopt clear and sensible rules for companies engaged in this activity. Today we need to make the health of our citizens a priority, to help them organise their lives in self-isolation, and to avoid creating obstacles to this.
Over the last weekend we have drafted all the necessary bills to support people, businesses and the economy. A number of resolutions have been signed, including aid to construction companies that build residences. Recently this industry has moved to a different working scheme, with the use of escrow accounts. This has significantly changed the financial element of the project and increased the responsibility of builders and buyers’ confidence. The spread of the coronavirus has resulted in new risks, so it is necessary to support the residential construction industry.
From 2 April until 1 January 2021, no penalties will be imposed on builders. During this period, apartment buildings will not be included in the register of toxic assets, which will remove the threat of bankruptcy from businesses, maintain prospective residential construction projects and allow buyers to obtain their apartments.
In addition, in order for the economy to function normally, we are automatically renewing for another year a number of licences and permits that would have expired between 1 March and the end of 2020. These include licences and permits in construction, medicine production, communications, television, radio broadcasting and security organisations. The same will apply to accreditations, for example for various labs and centres working on transport security and the issue of conformity certificates. The deadline for submitting documents for re-certification or re-accreditation for them will be postponed for a period of up to 12 months. The next confirmation procedure will be considered completed, and the old accreditation valid. As for the possibility of obtaining new documents, field checks will be temporarily conducted remotely, using modern technological means.
We have cancelled all the regular inspections for small and medium-sized businesses. In addition, we will strictly limit the grounds under which extraordinary inspections can take place. They can only be carried out if there is genuine evidence of harm to human life or health or at least a serious threat of this. Even then the inspection team must obtain permission from the prosecutor’s office to carry out an extraordinary inspection. They may also be carried out in line with instructions from the President and the Government or at the demand of the prosecutor.
Once again, I would like to draw attention to the federal hotline 8 800 2000112 and the website Стопкоронавирус.рф, where people can receive full updates on the measures taken to counter the spread of the coronavirus infection. Regions are also launching their own hotlines and websites where locals can find information about additional preventive measures taken by the regional administrations. Such a project will be launched in the Far East. A single telephone number, different for each Far Eastern district, will be launched for local residents. They will also be able to use it for the delivery of medicines and food or for other kinds of support. This measure will aid those in need of help with essential goods and services and curb the spread of the dangerous infection.
Cultural events that people planned to attend and even bought tickets for had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus. In such cases, the organisers need to offer an alternative. For example, they might invite people to attend a different event once life in Russia returns to normal or otherwise, they might offer a refund. Purchasers will need to apply for a refund via ticket offices when they open or on the internet if the ticket was purchased online. A relevant Government resolution has also been signed.
Colleagues, we have also made other decisions aimed at strengthening our economy during the spread of the coronavirus. I am asking you to monitor their implementation closely and, if necessary, prepare additional steps to strengthen the positive effect.
Let’s get down to work.