25 March 2020
Putin’s coronavirus address, explained

Putin’s coronavirus address, explained

Alexey Druzhinin / TASS

Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed the nation in connection with the coronavirus pandemic on March 25, after the official number of infections jumped to 658. In a speech broadcast nationwide, Putin outlined a series of measures designed to support the economy and protect public health as the virus continues to spread.

  • All non-essential work will be suspended the following week - from March 30 to April 5. Emergency services, pharmacies, supermarkets and banks will remain open.

  • All social benefits will be automatically extended within six months.

  • All recipients of maternity capital (family benefits) will be paid five thousand roubles ($64 at current rates) a month for each child under three years of age.

  • Russians whose income has fallen by more than 30% will be granted the right to defer consumer loan and mortgage payments.

  • Unemployment benefits will increase to 12 thousand roubles ($153 at current rates) a month.

  • All small and medium-sized businesses will be given a six-month grace period on tax payments other than VAT.

  • A six-month moratorium on bankruptcy applications for companies that work in industries affected by the crisis will be put in place.

  • A tax of 15% will be set on the withdrawal of dividends to offshore companies, with the raised funds being directed to support families with children and the unemployed.

  • Interest on investments in securities with a total value of more than a million roubles will be taxed at 13%.

  • One-off welfare payments commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Soviet victory in WWII - 50 thousand roubles ($640 at current rates) to home front workers and 75 thousand roubles ($960 at current rates) to war veterans - will be wired ahead of schedule, in April.

The outlined measures are to be formalised and written into law as soon as possible, Putin said.

According to data from the Russian Ministry of Health, there are 658 registered coronavirus patients in Russia, with the largest one-day spike in infections - 163 - recorded on March 25.