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Vladimir Putin calls for protecting rights of small and medium-sized businesses - 30 November, 2002

Russia's President Vladimir Putin has sent a greetings message to participants of the forum of the all-Russia public organisation of small and medium-sized entrepreneurship 'Support of Russia'. The forum opened in Moscow on Saturday.

In his message, the Russian leader emphasized the need for creating favourable business development conditions in the country. Your organization "can and must protect the rights and interests of all those who are today called "the commercial proletariat", Vladimir Putin's message says.

The 30-th of November is marked in Russia as the country's small and medium business sector's birthday. Ten years ago today, Putin's predecessor Boris Yeltsin signed a Presidential Decree "On Organizational Measures Aimed at Promoting Small and Medium-Sized Business in the Russian Federation". This document was meant to encourage large-scale involvement of the Russian population in private enterprise through promoting people's entrepreneurial spirit. The Decree instructed both the central Government and the regional authorities to create favourable conditions for developing small and medium-sized businesses.

The Decree made a strong impact on Russia's overall economic environment. Small businesses promptly sprang up to existence in all sectors of Russia's economy. Within a span of five years following the issuance of Yeltsin's Decree, the number of small businesses in Russia amounted to 842,000.

As of 1 January 2002, there were 875,000 small businesses in the country, employing 7.5 million people. Inclusion of sole traders brings the total number of people employed in Russia's small business sector to about 12 million. Trade and catering industries account for the largest portion (46 %) of the country's small businesses, with manufacturing and construction accounting for 14.8 % and 14.5 % respectively. As of 1 January 2002, the small business sector's gross production output totaled 613,651.4 million roubles.

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