On Wednesday, April 8, Vladimir Putin arranged a large video conference with the leaders of constituent entities of the Russian Federation (governors). In the opening speech, Putin addressed Russian citizens and urged people to observe the restrictions that were imposed in connection with the pandemic of coronavirus. He also announced a number of new social support solutions.
"Dear friends! I understand that many of you are tired, that it is sickening to stay within four walls, but there is no other choice. We have to overcome the self-isolation regime," Putin said.
He also assured that the fight against the disease will end with another triumph for Russia.
"Everything passes, and this too will pass. Our country has experienced serious trials many times before: Russia had been tormented by Pechenegs and Cumans. Russia could overcome everything. We will defeat this coronavirus infection as well. Together, we will overcome anything," Vladimir Putin added.
The head of state announced additional payments for specialists who work with coronavirus-infected patients. In the next three months, doctors will receive additionally 80,000 rubles, nurses - 50,000 rubles, junior medical staff - 25,000 rubles. ER doctors will be additionally paid 50,000, medical assistants - 25,000 rubles.
Putin opposed the suggestion to close transport and passenger services in regions, nor did he support the idea of restricting the work of major companies. He proposed extending a deferral in the payment of insurance contributions to social funds for six months - this measure will be applied to all small and medium-sized businesses that suffered as a result of the coronavirus infection.
Tax arrears arising from such a deferral should be restructured so that companies could pay it off smoothly. Companies will thus be able to pay the debt smoothly, monthly, in equal installments for at least a year after the deferral ends.
The government, with the participation of the Central Bank, should prepare a program for additional business support within five days, Putin said. However, this assistance will target the companies that have preserved employment.
Families eligible for maternity payments of 5,000 rubles per month for each child up to and including three years old will receive additional payments in April, May and June.
Families with children where parents are temporarily unemployed, in addition to unemployment benefits and due payments, an additional 3,000 rubles for each minor child will be additionally paid on a monthly basis in the next three months.
Families with children from three to seven years old will receive payments regardless of last year's income, as the current crisis will be taken into account, said Putin.
All Russian citizen who lost their jobs and contacted employment services after March 1, will be paid unemployment benefits in April, May and June automatically, in the amount of the minimum wage - 12,130 rubles ($160).
It was also decided to automatically renew passports, driver's licenses, other documents for at least three months. Repayment holidays for consumer and mortgage loans will be extended to a larger number of people.
"The next two to three weeks will be decisive. This is the period when we need maximum concentration of all resources and most stringent implementation of doctors' recommendations," Putin emphasized.
"Russia has everything to overcome the crisis: a stable macroeconomic situation, a minimum public debt, a solid "airbag", there are resources to solve problems in any of the possible scenarios, because we have experience in overcoming crises of past years."
"We cannot do without losses, but we can minimize them," Putin concluded.
The continued irresolution of the W.Sahara conflict: The right to self-determination vs. Realpolitik by Dr. Sidi Omar, Frente Polisario representative at the UN