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Small Businessmen Burdened by Petty Bureaucracy

Published: September 18, 2013 (Issue # 1778)



  • For dentist Emelyanov, Russias economy is being held back by its rules and regulations.
    Photo: Alexander Zemlianichenko / AP

MOSCOW (AP) Dentist Sergei Emelyanov is being smothered in Russias red tape.

Every day, Emelyanov and his staff have to take time out from tending patients to fill out official logbooks on health and hygiene. Its repetitive and pointless work but required by law and vital if Emelyanov, who has co-owned his Moscow clinic since 1992, wants to avoid a hefty arbitrary fine from inspectors.

Along with many of the small struggling businesses in Russia, Emelyanov knows this comes with the territory.

Regulatory authorities, armed with current rules and regulations, are free to do whatever they want with us, he said. Every inspecting body is tailored to levy fines from businesses. Even if you abide by all the rules, they will always find something to fine you for.

There are growing concerns that Russias burdensome bureaucracy and corruption are holding back the countrys economy, which has become increasingly reliant on massive oil and mining companies.

According to the International Monetary Fund, Russia is the worlds eighth-largest economy just behind Brazil with an annual gross domestic product of some $2 trillion. While it exports a large part of Europes and Asias energy needs, it also helps fill in the order books of companies across the globe.

However, the countrys economic growth has been on a downward path since the start of last year. The Economic Development ministry estimates it will only be 1.8 percent this year the slowest rate since 1999. Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev has also warned of the risk of recession.

With Russian oil and gas exports slowing, the best hope lies with small and medium-sized businesses, Ulyukayev said in an interview with the Kommersant business daily last month. Russian exports can no longer be the key driver of economic growth, he said.

But businessmen like Emelyanov claim the government isnt backing its words with action.

When President Vladimir Putin was campaigning to win his third term as president in 2012, one of his promises was to increase the pay and benefits of state employees who make up to 40 percent of Russias total workforce. Soldiers saw their pay more than double last year, while teachers got a 14 percent raise. While this lavish spending has improved the lives of millions of Russians, it has put a strain on the countrys budget.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Sept. 3


Although thesand sculptures at the Peter and Paul Fortress are more centrally located and therefore more visible to the throngs of tourists, the 300th Anniversary Park of St. Petersburgs own collection closes today so fans of the classic beach activity should get there while they can.



Thursday, Sept. 4


Vladimir I. Danchenkov, Head of Baltic Customs, will be in attendance during AmChams Customs and Transportation Committee Meeting convening this afternoon at the organizations office near St. Isaacs Square at 3 p.m.



Friday, Sept. 5


Scrabble lovers and chess masters get their chance to assert their intellectual dominance at the return of the British Book Centers Board Game Evenings tonight. Held weekly on Friday nights, the event gives both board game lovers and those hoping to improve their English the chance to meet, greet and compete. Check out the centers VK page for more details.



Saturday, Sept. 6


Athletes will relish the chance to get the latest gear and try out something new at I Choose Sport, an annual event at Lenexpo forum that plans to welcome more than 30,000 people this week to the international exhibition center. Not only will visitors get to try their hand at various athletic endeavors but they will also be able to peruse equipment that can fulfill their dreams of becoming a champion.


Local KHL team SKA St. Petersburg open their season this evening at home against Lokomotiv Yarovslavl at the Ice Palace arena next to the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. See their website for a full schedule and available tickets.



Sunday, Sept. 7


Check out retro and antique cars at Fort Konstantin on Kronstadt Island in the Gulf of Finland at FORTuna, a yearly car festival that highlights the eccentricities of the Soviet automobile industry. A car race, contests and a stunt show will give visitors a chance to rev their engines.



Monday, Sept. 8


This evening marks the opening of the two-week ballet festival High Season at the Mikhailovsky Theater. Check the theaters website for more details about performances and featured dancers.



Tuesday, Sept. 9


Discuss the latest news and issues at the AmCham Hazardous Waste Management Roundtable this morning in the Tango Conference Hall of the Sokos Hotel Palace Bridge on Birzhevoy Pereulok. Starting at 9 a.m., planned topics include the Krasny Bor landfill and waste transportation between Russia and Finland.


Learn more about the citys modern architectural trends at the SPIBA Real Estate and Construction Committees meeting on the topic Contemporary Petersburg Style: What is It? Participants will get the chance to discuss whats in-demand with RBI Holdings Irina Petrova and Lubava Pryanikova, and the current state of the local real estate market. Please confirm your attendance by Sept. 5 through SPIBAs website if you wish to attend.



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