8 April 2020
Putin orders expansion of benefits in new address

Putin orders expansion of benefits in new address

press-service of the President of Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed the nation before a videoconference with ministers and regional heads on April 8, proposing the expansion of welfare benefits and economic support measures amid the fallout from the COVID-19 crisis.

In his third coronavirus-related speech, Putin promised the following measures:

  • Over the course of the next three months, doctors working directly with COVID-19 will be paid an additional 80,000 roubles ($1,057 at current rates), 50,000 roubles ($661 at current rates) will be allocated to medical staff and emergency doctors, while junior medical staff will receive an additional 25,000 roubles ($330 at current rates).

  • All taxes other than VAT for small and medium-sized businesses will be deferred by six months.

  • The Government and the Central Bank need to roll out a programme of additional economic support for businesses in the next five days, with a focus on companies that have retained their employees during the "non-working period".

  • Those who lost their jobs and notified employment services after March 1, 2020, will receive a benefit equivalent to the minimum wage (12,130 roubles, or $162) from April to June. Aside from unemployment benefits, families with children are to receive an additional 3,000 roubles ($39 at current rates) a month for each child under the age of 18.

  • Passports, driver's licenses and other documents will automatically be renewed for a minimum of three months.

  • The deferral of consumer and mortgage loan payments will become available to a larger portion of the public.

The next two or three weeks will be "crucial" for the development of the COVID-19 situation in Russia, Putin said.

"Everything passes away, and this too will pass. Our country has repeatedly withstood serious trials. The Pechenegs tormented it, and the Polovtsians after that. Russia overcame everything. This coronavirus disease will be also be beaten! Together we will overcome everything!" - Putin concluded.

Vladimir Putin addressed the nation due to the coronavirus on two previous occasions. In his first speech on March 25, the Russian president designated March 28 to April 5 a "paid non-working week", a measure that was extended to April 30 in his second address on April 2.

On Wednesday morning, Russian authorities reported 1,175 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the country's total number of infections to 8,672.