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Russian Presidential Aide Takes Issue With Putin's State Duma Address

Arkadiy DvorkovichMoscow, 20 April: Setting the costs incurred by business in opposition to the costs incurred by people while discussing lower (employer's) insurance contributions is inappropriate, presidential aide Arkadiy Dvorkovich has said, adding that the president's corresponding instruction did not make such a link.

"I found the setting of the costs incurred by business in opposition to the costs incurred by people and the arms-length argument over some proposals to shift the (tax) burden onto Russian citizens to be strange. The president's instruction does not refer to this at all. There are no plans to shift the burden onto Russian citizens," Dvorkovich said commenting on (Prime Minister) Vladimir Putin's report to the State Duma.

Such proposals might have been made by some members of the government, "but in that case it is not quite clear why the Duma rostrum is being used for this debate", Dvorkovich said.

He said that the president was expecting the government shortly to present proposals to reduce the rate of insurance contributions and that these proposals should not contain such a link. "People involved in business are not robots, but Russian citizens, just like everybody else, with the same rights, so when their salaries go down as a result of high insurance contributions, this is no less painful than problems with the incomes of doctors and pensioners. They are Russian citizens, just like everybody else," Dvorkovich said.

The rate of insurance contributions has been 34 per cent since 2011. In March, President Dmitriy Medvedev instructed the government to draw up proposals to reduce the rate.

Addressing the State Duma on Wednesday (20 April), Putin said that there could be no "straightforward solutions" in the search for ways to reduce insurance contribution rates.

"We should not be taking simple, straightforward decisions shifting the problems of business onto the shoulders of ordinary citizens," the prime minister said.

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