President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Dear friends!
I think that in general our regular meeting on the problems facing small business (because we meet and discuss these things so often) has been helpful, despite what I said at the outset. So far we have only outlined the general contours of the tasks that lie ahead. In my opinion, the main problem is exactly this, that here at the highest levels when we discuss this matter, we all agree on the problem. Everyone understands what is going on, everybody understands that the situation requires one to hold one’s nose and give up some of one’s powers, but when we move to the next level, and then two levels down, then three, everything changes completely. Why are our colleagues, the representatives of small business in Smolensk, saying: ”Everything you have said is true but now you're off, and what is going to happen to us now is an entirely separate issue“?
Therefore, the first thing I would like to say about the outcome of today's meeting is that we need to examine what is going to happen here, down to monitoring specific enterprises if needed. Because we can not compromise the solutions that we come up with ourselves.
Secondly, Elvira Sakhipzadovna [Nabiullina] said that small business is not protected legally, that we must put it on a strong legal basis, seek help from legal advisors of all kinds, and create the means by which it can make use of legal services. I couldn't agree more, being a lawyer myself. But as you know perfectly well, we need that small businesses have fewer reasons to go to court and consult with lawyers. Why? Because worldwide small business is much less involved in legal matters compared to our own.
Just consider trying to create a decent-sized enterprise, not all that big (I tried this myself once 15 years ago, for example). The future CEO or the future owner has to get a lawyer, then a second lawyer, write statutes, engage in lengthy negotiations – that is, he has to go to work as if he were starting up a multibillion dollar project or trying to steal something that will inevitably land him in the defendant's dock.
Everywhere else in the world it's done differently: you can go about registering a business, without lawyers: in fact, you fill out an application depending on where the business is to be registered and that is that.
I certainly understand that in some measure I am taking bread out of the mouths of the lawyers, but nevertheless we need to make sure that the number of dealings that small business has with lawyers is minimal. There are big problems elsewhere, and our colleagues are dealing with them, but small business should in this sense feel that the system and the paperwork has been simplified, that its relations with the state are simplified, and that 50 percent of its costs aren't taken up by paying off lawyers.
I agree with virtually all the proposals made here with respect to working out and introduction as soon as possible of the anti-raiding package. I hope that it will soon be made law. Are we planning to submit it to the Duma in the fall?
Economic Development and Trade Minister Elvira Nabiullina: It already has been submitted.
Dmitry Medvedev: Already submitted? So what else has to be done?
Elvira Nabiullina: We have some outstanding issues concerning the jurisdiction of the Supreme Arbitration Court and the Supreme Court, because our proposal to eliminate confusion in cases involving economic disputes, including citizens, small businesses and individual enterprises, is to take them to the Supreme Arbitration Court.
This issue has not yet been resolved between the Supreme Court and the Supreme Arbitration Court.
Dmitry Medvedev: Let us proceed like this. This is really a question of coming to an agreement.
Elvira Nabiullina: It's a bit of a hold up.
Dmitry Medvedev: In all likelihood, this agreement will have to be overseen by the Presidential Executive Office. This is not a government matter. Therefore, I would like the Presidential Executive Office to take it in hand and arrange a meeting at the level of the Chief of Staff or deputy Chief of Staff of the Executive Office and with the participation of members of the courts.
There's more. Among the proposals mentioned here there is in the notarial agreement on the transfer of shares. I am not against it. You were just talking about this, Elvira Sakhipzadovna?
The only thing I want to add on the basis of my own legal expertise is that the more agreements of this kind are required, the more difficult as a rule it is to make a deal. In this particular case, there will be a few details regarding registration: a notarised certificate and after that, say in the case of a company with limited liability, there will be at a minimum the registration of changes in the organisational documents.
In general, here we need to think about whether this will not create any insuperable difficulties. But naturally I do not object. In general, if you think that this is reasonable, if this nevertheless works in practice and serves as a protection, then let's expand the list of mandatory notarised certificates required.
According to the proposals put forward by Igor Yuryevich Artemyev, I generally think that everything you have said is quite reasonable. Let us try to go this route, and in part it is precisely this sort of council that should be established in all the regions. I deliberately did not give floor to our colleagues representing public organisations, because we get together very often and discuss things. But do you support the idea of such councils in all regions of the Federation?
Voice: We absolutely have to do it.
Dmitry Medvedev: Well, thank you. We will take that to be an expression of the views of our business community.
There is one more thing to which I specifically wanted to draw your attention. We have all been talking about the law on occupancy and on property. This law implies the need for the adoption of regional laws. In order for our distinguished municipalities not to set up the unpleasant things that were discussed here, these laws must be adopted as quickly as possible.
So I hope that once the Legislative Assembly convenes after the summer holidays, the appropriate changes to your local laws will be made. You were basically talking about these cases.
Voice: … three months…
Dmitry Medvedev: Yes, you can consider it done.
Voice: There is a model contract developed by the committee on property …
Dmitry Medvedev: Excellent. Then our distinguished colleagues from the regions of the Federation need to use this model document and do their work more simply and better on a single legal plane. Do you agree,Yuri Yakovlevich?
Minister For Justice Yuri Chaika: Absolutely.
Dmitry Medvedev: You said everything with regards to the instructions on business inspections. I would ask you to work with [Internal Affairs Minister] Rashid Gumarovich [Nurgaliyev] on these issues.
One last thing: what Vladimir Alexandrovich [Gaiduk] talked about. The state must determine what small business is for the state. It sounds as if this is a philosophical question, but all the more absolutely justified. Naturally, small business should not be seen merely as a cash cow. We cannot think of any business in such a way, because these businesses involve people, sometimes large groups of people.
But since we are speaking about small business, let me conclude with words that may sound overblown: in point of fact, it is the means by which our country can be reborn. The figures that we have been using are empyrean, 70 per cent, they are very high indeed. But even if we are able to convince 40–50 per cent of our people to start up a real business, we will have a different country on our hands. This is indeed one of our most realistic hopes. So let us continue to work on this, and I will keep all of these issues under my personal control.
Thank you very much.