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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

Thursday, Oct. 30


Dental-Expo St. Petersburg 2014 concludes today at Lenexpo. Welcoming specialists from throughout the federation, the forum is an opportunity for dentists to share tricks of the trade and peruse the most recent innovations in technology and equipment, with over 100 companies hocking their wares at the event.



Friday, Oct. 31


Put your grammar and logical thinking to the test in a fun and friendly environment during the British Book Centers Board Game Evening starting at 5 p.m. today. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.



Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at todays Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nations premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the citys elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolans latest film Mommy at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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