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Russian Parliament adopts anti-sanctions legislation

MOSCOW (AFP) – Russia’s Parliament on Friday approved legislation aimed at countering the effects of sweeping Western sanctions on the country’s economy imposed after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

The package of bills aims at “defending the economy and citizens in the face of foreign sanctions”, according to the website of the State Duma, the Russian Parliament’s Lower House.

“The economy is subjected to such an aggressive environment,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. “We need to cushion, to minimise the attacks aimed at our economy now.”
Western nations slapped Russia with unprecedented sanctions in retaliation for launching a brutal war against Ukraine. The penalties prompted the Russian ruble to plummet and foreign companies to leave the country.

The legislation approved on Friday allows the government to raise pensions and the minimum wage.

A moratorium on inspections of small and medium-sized businesses may also be introduced for 2022, and until the end of 2024 for IT companies. The bills also expand the list of medicines procured by the government and streamlines procurement procedure.

The legislation puts in place a simplified “buyback” mechanism for companies to purchase their own shares, allowing Russian enterprises, whose shares have plummeted due to the sanctions, to buy back the shares at low prices and consolidate.

The law also provides for credit repayment freezes for citizens and small and medium-sized businesses in 2022, a measure already introduced at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Finally, the measures extend a capital amnesty that has been in place for several years, allowing Russians to repatriate property and capital held abroad without risking prosecution.

Cargo ship Oakland crosses the Bosphorus strait towards the Marmara sea after departing from Russia’s Novorossiysk port in Istanbul. PHOTO: AP

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