Putin deplores stagnation in Russia's small business

Putin spoke in favour of creating "a qualitatively solid legal environment" at all levels of authority in order to have propitious conditions for small business. At the same time, the president said, a legal base for monitoring the entrepreneurs should be created too.

Russian President Vladimir Putin believes that the situation with regard to small business in the country "is uneven and distressing". He stressed that "it's necessary to change the stand of the problem of small-scale entrepreneurship". "If nothing is changed in this sector, the potential for developing small business should be regarded as exhausted. Entrepreneurs will be either closing down their businesses or slip into the shadow economy," the president said.

The head of state said that when drafting the principles of supporting and developing small businesses the views of both power structures and entrepreneurs had been taken into account.

"Unfortunately we have not yet managed to do everything possible to develop this sector," the president said. For instance, he thinks, federal, regional and municipal authorities bear their share of blame for this.

"A fully-fledged middle class has not been formed in the country, almost," Putin said. "At the same time, small business feeds a third of the Russian population." However, he said, more than a half of small businesses are concentrated in eight constituent parts of the Russian Federation, a quarter of them in Moscow.