Russian business is growing increasingly aware of its social responsibility, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Valentina Matviyenko contended in remarks to the Socially Responsible Business and Civil Initiatives in Russia forum held in St. Petersburg. She believes the look of the Russian business is changing today. Businesspeople realize their enterprises can only successfully develop in a society where stable political, economic, and social conditions have been created. She underscored that big time corporations, which happen to be 80-percent private-owned in Russia, have lately moved to tackle social issues, improving working conditions, health insurance, wages, and extending these benefits to retirees and active employees alike. Matviyenko feels the sheer number of the nation's social problems makes the government unable to resolve them alone. Therefore, it has to engage the business in a dialogue. Securing corporate backing would be essential not only for tackling the social problems, but also for shaping a credible image for business itself. In addition, she commented on the issue of patronage, which she said is severely hindered by the lack of legal basis in Russia.
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