The Mayor of Moscow gave an exclusive interview to Komsomolskaya Pravda Radio Station.
- Mr. Mayor, the pandemic had a serious impact on the economy - not only of the Russian capital, but also of the whole world. And there were a lot of projects and plans in Moscow - metro, roads, renovation, improvements ...
- The impact on the budget was significant. The planned shortfall in revenues will amount to RUR 500 to 600 bn this year. The coronavirus has its own specificity. For Moscow, it is much worse than any oil crisis. It is clear that prices have fallen, followed by income and economic activity in global markets. During the pandemic, hotels, tourist, catering and retail businesses are closed, industrial enterprises suffer, construction sites stop operating.
Nevertheless, we have built up a financial safety margin in recent years, through which we continue to pay state employees' salaries as scheduled. At the same time, we also allocate additional funds for reconstruction of hospitals - creation of new departments -, purchase of drugs and protective equipment, business support.
We keep all the main city programs - construction of metro and highways, jointly with Russian Railways construction of Moscow Central Diameters and reconstruction of commuter train system, purchase of new rolling stock, development of health care.
We see how business has already started to recover well - retail, catering, small and medium-sized enterprises. If no radical changes come up, we will achieve normal economic and budgetary development within six months.
- How did you help small and medium-sized businesses?
- There is a whole list of federal benefits, one-time payments, loans at 2% with subsequent repayment. We help all small businesses, not just the affected industries, as the entire economy has been affected. The Moscow Antivirus Package accommodates delay of rental payments, delay of property taxes, etc. The city's assistance has reached 37,000-40,000 small and medium-sized enterprises, which employ about 800,000 people.
- In the pre-COVID times a lot of money came to Moscow budget from foreign tourists. They're not here yet. Perhaps some part of this amount can be replaced by tourists from Russian regions. But they are dealing the pandemic outbreak right now. Won't the coronavirus be delivered to us again?
- We're not afraid that someone will deliver us something. It's impossible to make Moscow a closed city. Today, Europe, America, China, Southeast Asia are closed to tourists, and the Russian domestic traveling comes to life in this situation. Restaurants, hotels, travel agencies and tours have already opened in Moscow. We're not holding Moscow festivals yet, but it's also a matter of time.
Moscow received about RUR 120 bn a year only as taxes to the city budget from the travel industry. Even if a serious decline takes place this year, I hope this business will recover. At least, we're doing our best for it .
- Theatres and cinemas are among the last to come alive after the COVID. Do we know what rules will be used to seat the spectators from August 1?
- We open them provided that the hall is occupied by 50% at most. They should be guided by the requirements of Rospotrebnadzor – Russian Agency for Health and Consumer Rights. Large concert halls for 3,000+ spectators are closed for the time being. The theatrical season in the capital is likely to begin in fall, now the theaters have an off-season. We allowed spectators to occupy the stands up to 50%, we have almost all out-door stadiums open.
Until September, there is time for theatrical life, educational institutions and sports facilities to return to normal life.
Tickets to Museums and Theatres - through Online Assistant
We launch Russpass - the intelligent digital travel platform. Both tourists and Muscovites can connect to it. It helps to make a convenient route around the capital, to buy electronic tickets for tours, museums and theaters in advance, to order a taxi, to learn about city services, amenities, attractions. All routes and tickets will be available in your Russpass account on the website or in the mobile app.
The system is currently running in test mode. By the beginning of next year, we will improve it according to the suggestions of users, so that everything will work not only for domestic tourists, but also for foreign ones.