Millions of small businesses to diversify Russian economy

Russia’s economy needs another five million small businesses, according to the Economic Development Minister Elvira Nabiullina. Small firms represent no more than 17% of the country’s GDP – however, still not enough attention is being paid on t

The small business sector seems ready to diversify Russia’s economy away from traditional industrial sectors.

Moscow’s streets are plastered with bright ads encouraging people to set up small businesses. Russia already has more than a million small firms but many of them are set by foreigners or Russians who have assets abroad.

Alexandra de Montfort, the founder of Rouge Bunny Rouge, who came to Russia in 2000 to work in real estate market, says the business environment in Russia has improved.

“The situation is changing constantly. I think the environment has been created for the small and medium businesses to start up,” she said.

Other entrepreneurs agree saying the market economy is more supportive for small firms.

“This is a market economy. I think when it comes down to small and medium size businesses, there will always be people trying to focus on that sector of the economy and give them loans or give them leasing – or it will be a federal programme – it is just a pure market economic sense,” commented entrepreneur John Warren.

Encouraging small business featured in the election programmes of most candidates.

Democratic Party leader Andrey Bogdanov called for tax breaks.

The leader of the Communist Party Gennady Zyuganov says Russia must boost small firms to European levels of 30% of the GDP.

Finally, Dmitry Medvedev in his latest speech stressed the state should free small business from bureaucracy and extortion.