Russia to Set up Coronavirus Hotlines for Businesses

A number of Russian state agencies announced Thursday they would open “hotlines” to receive complaints from businessmen and to help them cope with the current difficulties and restrictions caused by the spread of coronavirus, Trans.ru reported.

Opora Rossii, an organization bringing together Russian small-and medium-sized enterprises, plans to unite its regional hotlines for entrepreneurs in one to accept complaints, Alexander Kalinin, head of the business association, told Russian media.

“We are now planning to create a single hot line to receive business complaints related to the pandemic and we are going to announce its launch soon,” he said, while adding that currently similar lines are already operating in 64 regional bureaus of the association.

He noted that, the number of complaints related to the spread of coronavirus has increased recently, with most of them coming from companies working in tourism, hotel business and non-food retail.

The Russian Export Center (REC) also plans to launch its hot line to support enterprises. REC’s senior vice president Alexey Kozhevnikov told TASS.

“We plan to open a call center to consult exporters on products and services in a remote format and to inform them on the situation on international markets,” he said as quoted by the REC’s press service.

Kozhevnikov also noted that due to the pandemic, the number of business meetings and missions abroad is decreasing, which is of extreme concern to small and medium-sized businesses working for export. To solve this problem, RECs transfer many of such events into online mode.

This week, First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov reported that the Russian government had introduced the so-called force majeure regime. That means that the government will not impose penalties on non-residents who fail to perform state contracts if their non-performance was caused by the coronavirus pandemic.