Trade and Travel Restrictions: Russia

Constantly updated information about the situation in Russia with focus on the general situation, movement of goods and movement of people.
 

overview

A quick overview of the affected areas. Please find more detailed information below.

General Situation

General Situation

DESCRIPTION OF THE CURRENT SITUATION

The second wave of infections is in full swing and most strongly affects Moscow and the Moscow Region. The mayor of Moscow has reintroduced a series of measures, such as restriction of movement on persons belonging to risk groups. Companies are required to let at least 30% of their workforce work from home and to do regular testing. The authorities seem determined to avoid another lockdown.

  • Find latest information on the general situation in English on the website of The Moscow Times
  • Also in English, the Association of European Businesses has a dedicated area on their website with business-related information regarding Covid-19: www.aebrus.ru
  • Official information is available in Russian only on the website of the federal government, стопкоронавирус.рф. On this site, you will find an interactive map where regions are divided in four categories colored from green (no restrictions) to red (lockdown).

GOVERNMENT MEASURES

  • Eligibility for government support measures is differentiated according to company size and economic sector (there is an official list of “highly affected sectors”, such as tourism etc.). This results in the following four categories, with cumulative access to benefits:
    • All companies (later deadlines for accounting submission, moratorium on controls by the Federal Tax Services and moratorium on insolvency decisions)
    • SMEs (reduction of social charges, subsidized credits)
    • SMEs from highly affected sectors (deferral of tax payment by 4-6 months)
    • Micro companies from highly affected sectors (deferral of social charges by 6 months)
  • Large companies can apply to be recognized as “systemically relevant” companies giving them access to benefits such as tax deferrals, soft loans or government guarantees.
  • All measures mentioned above refer to the federal level. Additional support may be available at the regional level.
  • Subsidiaries of foreign companies can benefit from support measures, but limitations apply to companies whose foreign ownership is >49%. They can only benefit from SME status if the foreign mother company also qualifies for SME status.

    An exhaustive list of federal benefits and eligibility for a given business can be checked on the website of the Federal Tax Service. EY offers a summary of federal and regional support measures. Both sources are available in Russian only.

    In English, the Association of European Businesses in Russia provides a complete and systematized listing of support measures at the federal level and – for Moscow only – at the regional level. The information can be consulted in chronological order or from a sectoral perspective.

ECONOMIC OUTLOOK (ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, EFFECTS ON INDUSTRIES)

Economic Development and Outlook:

  • Estimates of the Russian economy’s expected contraction in 2020 have recently improved. They now range somewhere from -4.5 % (EBRD: https://www.ebrd.com/where-we-are/russia/overview.html) to -4.1% (IMF: https://www.imf.org/en/Countries/RUS).
  • The global downturn impacts Russia through low commodity prices, the oil price in the first place.
  • Low oil prices usually translate into a weaker Ruble, this is the main challenge for foreign exporters.
  • On the positive side: Russia has very low public debt, a National Welfare Fund of USD 150 bn and Central Bank reserves of more than  USD 550 bn. This allows the authorities to maintain macroeconomic stability for the foreseeable future.

Effects on industries:

  • A June 2020 survey on the consequences of COVID by the Association of European Businesses among 114 European (including Swiss) companies active on the Russian market produced the following key findings:
    • The challenges most often encountered are: defaults on payments by customers (34% of respondents), problems with supply of raw materials and components (33%), and logistical complications (31%).
    • More than 70% of European businesses are not laying off people.
    • Only 8% of European businesses have temporarily closed production in Russia (45% have no production, 45% have not shut down production).
    • For the Russian economy as a whole, we expect that the large state controlled corporations will have the means to survive the crisis. The smaller companies, often in the services sector, will be most affected.
    • In the food sector, we observe a trend towards health-conscious consumption.
    • Many sectors (e.g. retail, commercial vehicles, construction equipment etc.) had reported an exceptionally strong first quarter, which will somewhat attenuate the impact of the lockdown on the overall turnover numbers in 2020.
Movement of Goods

Movement of Goods

  • There are only minor restrictions on the movement of goods.
  • Export of medical protective equipment is restricted.
  • For medical equipment relevant for the fight against COVID-19, there are VAT exemptions (Decree N. 419), import duty exemptions (EAEU Decision No. 21), and simplified batch approval processes (Decree No. 430).

 

Movement of People

Movement of People

RESTRICTIONS ON ENTRY FROM SWITZERLAND

  • Russia has re-opened its borders for Swiss citizens or holders of Swiss residence permits B or C (inclusive holders of Russian Highly Qualified Specialist (HQS) visas, which was confirmed by the note Nr. 2798 from the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Embassy of Switzerland in Russia) under the condition that they enter Russia via a direct flight from Switzerland and present at entry into the country a recent Covid PCR Test (done no longer than 72hrs before entry).  The airlines Swiss, Aeroflot, and Rossiya have taken up direct regular flights between Russia and Switzerland on August 15th. The following weekly flights are possible (always double-check with the airline whether a given flight is effectively executed):

    SWISS
    -Zurich-Moscow-Zurich on Mondays, Fridays, and Saturdays
    -Zurich-St. Petersburg-Zurich on Fridays

    AEROFLOT
    -Moscow-Geneva-Moscow on Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays

    AEROFLOT / ROSSIYA AIRLINES
    -St. Petersburg-Geneva-St. Petersburg on Saturdays
     
  • For further travel information between Switzerland and Russia consult the website of the Embassy of Switzerland in Russia: https://www.eda.admin.ch/countries/russia/en/home/representations/embassy-in-moscow.html

RESTRICTIONS ON MOBILITY WITHIN THE COUNTRY

  • Travel (air and land) within the country is not restricted.
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