Putin's address: additional payments to doctors, assistance to people, business support, 'Polovtsy and Pechenegs'
Vladimir Putin addressed the heads of regions, announced new measures to support citizens and businesses, and urged them to cherish time and money
On 8 April, Vladimir Putin made an introductory speech before a meeting via videoconference with governors on the topic of coronavirus. About what new measures to support the population, businesses and the fight agaisnt the virus announced by the president — read in the material of Realnoe Vremya.
Support for the medical industry in general and for medical professionals in particular
At the beginning of his address, the president suggested focusing on fighting the epidemic, protecting public health, and ensuring the stability of the economy. But he called ensuring the work of medical institutions an absolute priority. We must do everything to bring the country's medicine to maximum readiness in the face of the coming epidemic.
More than 33 billion rubles have already been allocated to deploy additional specialized beds in infectious diseases departments. Another 13 billion rubles have been allocated for the purchase of additional medical equipment (ventilators, reanimobiles and ambulances).
Putin suggested assessing the results in the regions not by the number of reserved beds but by the actual readiness of medical institutions. Then he announced unprecedented payments to medical staff who work directly with COVID-19 patients. The federal budget has already allocated more than 10 billion rubles for this purpose.
The following monthly payments are set for three months starting in April:
- 80,000 rubles — for doctors;
- 50,000 rubles — for nurses;
- 25,000 rubles — for junior medical staff;
- 50,000 rubles — for ambulance surgeons;
- 25,000 rubles — for drivers, paramedics and nurses of ambulance crews.
Also, increased insurance guarantees are set for doctors who are in direct contact with COVID-19 patients — also at the expense of the federal budget.
Regions must act flexibly
Separately, Putin stressed how high is the personal responsibility of regional heads to ensure that all measures work as effectively as possible. He asked them to act in a focused and professional manner, to value every day and every ruble: to solve all organizational and personnel issues in a timely manner, and to ensure the rapid formation of teams of specialists. The ministry of finance proposed to give the regions the authority to act flexibly, allow them to solve problems on the ground and redistribute funds depending on the situation.
“Acting by patterns is not only inefficient but also harmful today," the president told regional leaders. The main goal of all measures is to protect people's lives and health.
Putin also instructed to establish regional cooperation in order to redirect the flow of patients and doctors from the region to the region as necessary. The government has been instructed to draw up a schedule for transferring the beds from federal clinics to the regions within two days. “It is important to gather all our resources," the president reminded.
“We need to develop a mechanism for returning organizations to normal operation”
Then Vladimir Putin reminded about the damage and devastating consequences for the economy that can result from the complete closure of enterprises, cargo and passenger traffic between regions, regardless of the real situation, even when there are only a few cases of illness in the region.
“This does not happen even in Moscow with its huge population density," he cited the capital as an example. “Many companies continue to work or have switched to remote mode. Therefore, we need to carefully develop a mechanism for returning organizations to normal operation," he recommended. Naturally, all security measures must be observed, but at the same time, we must not load enterprises with unnecessary certificates and paperwork.
It is important to soften the blow for a business whose losses are already very serious. A list of companies that are systemically important for the region should be created in each federal subject. The president called on regional leaders to make decisions carefully, precisely and flexibly, and not to apply indiscriminate measures.
At the federal level, the president has previously proposed to extend to all enterprises in the affected areas a halving of social contributions — from 30% to 15%, and for the long term.
I am sure that the business will do its best to maintain its teams. This is the approach we will support
As an emergency measure, he proposed to postpone the payment of these contributions to social funds for the affected SMEs for 6 months. In addition, businesses are to receive a tax deferral for six months (excluding VAT). But in six months, there should not be a situation when they need to pay all the debts on social payments and taxes at once — this is what many business representatives are afraid of now. Therefore, the president proposed to distribute this payment smoothly for a longer period.
Within five days, the president instructed the government and the Central Bank to develop a programme to support businesses, so that they could preserve their activities and jobs as much as possible. Companies, especially in the service sector, have a very difficult time. But Putin once again stressed how important it is to save jobs. “I am sure that business will make every effort to preserve its teams," the president said. “This is the approach we will support.” The president offered to support, first of all, those companies that maintain employment.
“You can't judge a family's wealth based on last year's certificates”
To help people who have already lost their jobs, the president is introducing new measures.
- Payments to families with children up to 3 years old who are eligible for maternity capital will amount to 5,000 rubles a month. They will be paid in April, May and June.
- Families with children up to 7 years old will receive the announced payments from June, and not from July, as promised earlier.
- At the same time, the criterion of neediness will not be determined based on a certificate of income for the previous year, but without taking into account the income received earlier at the place of work, due to temporary unemployment today. Thus, the number of recipients of the benefit will be expanded.
- All those who lost their jobs on March 1, 2020 and applied to the employment services will be paid the upper limit of 12,130 rubles. The president instructed to make sure that people can get this benefit as quickly and remotely as possible.
- The president offered to pay another 3,000 rubles a month for each minor child to families where parents lost their jobs.
The president instructed the heads of regions to expand support measures for those who have loans and find opportunities to give loan repayment holidays to everyone who needs it. In addition, the government has instructed to work out the mechanism for automatic renewal of passports, driver's licenses, and other identification documents for at least three months.
Russia has gone through the Pechenegs and the Polovtsians. And we'll also defeat COVID-19
The next two or three weeks will be crucial for the development of the situation in Russia, according to the opinion of virologists. “We cannot say exactly how the situation will develop but we can predict possible scenarios with a high degree of probability, which means that we can and must develop our own plan of action for each of them in advance," the president said.
To do this, Russia has everything: a solid airbag and experience in overcoming crisis phenomena," the president reminded. He stated that we cannot do without losses but we should strive to minimize them. “We will support the sectors of the economy affected by the crisis, the labour market, and the healthcare system," Putin said.
Then the president addressed the citizens of Russia. He said that he understood that being in four walls is a dreary and sickening experience. The test of self-isolation mode must be passed. The result to be achieved depends on discipline and responsibility. Every day confirms the strength and cohesion of our society.
The president recalled how important and irreplaceable the work of doctors and nurses is. He spoke about the volunteers who have joined the work, and about the other millions of Russians who care about each other.
“Dear friends! Everything passes, and it will pass," Putin said. He recalled that Russia has always coped with problems (here he cited the example of the invasion of the Pechenegs and Polovtsians in Russia), and expressed hope that we “will overcome this infection”.