Government officials have numerous methods of pressuring small businesses.
President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev recently held a meeting on the problem of administrative pressure being applied to small businesses. Despite preventative measures that have already been taken, government officials continue to intimidate small businesses with frequent, unlawful inspections. A new law intended to protect firms from such practices seems to have not put a stop to the harassment.
Sergei Borisov, president of OPORA Russia, a lobbying group for SMEs in Russia, confirmed that although 40% of unscheduled inspections have been stopped, the law isn’t working. One business owner complained that expensive government services continue to be forced upon establishments; he himself has had to pay 600,000 rubles in order to obtain fire safety licenses for the bakeries he owns. Medvedev has asked Nikolai Kapinus, the Head of Central Management at Rosteknadzor – a federal agency responsible for overseeing, among other things, the installation of electrical and heating systems and their inspection – to lower the cost of the fire safety licenses to 60,000 rubles. Medvedev quipped, “Our businesses are not so wealthy that they can afford to pay every time the government sneezes.”
In the first half of 2009, the Office of Public Prosecutor put a stop to over 33,000 illegal business inspections. However, these same prosecutors determined that tax inspectors may inspect a business' receipts on a daily basis. Evidently, the new law does not extend to prohibiting these kinds of inspections. Propositions from the prosecutors to change the legislation have not been put forward.