Russia to Support Business with $4bn Fund as Virus Crisis Bites

A $4 billion fund will be unlocked by the Russian government to help the economy with the coronavirus pandemic, Reuters reported citing an official statement.

The government also urged businesses to help slow the spread of the virus, the report says.

Reserves of 300 billion rubles ($4 billion) “can be used by the government within the framework of this year’s budget to cover top priority needs when it comes to expenses and support of industries and citizens,” Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said at a cabinet meeting.

Mishustin said the authorities should help in particular companies in trade, tourism and aviation, and announced that the government would expand lending offers to small- and medium-sized enterprises.

The Russian PM called on businesses — particularly large corporations — to take steps to halt the spread of the coronavirus and asked for solutions to help the government.

“The fight against the pandemic is a task not only for state structures but for all of society,” he said.

The prime minister also urged every Russian “to help and take care of each other”. Mishustin praised the preventative measures his government has taken so far and pledged transparency with future steps.

“We should do everything so that the situation does not develop like it is developing in other countries,” Mishustin said.

He also said Russia was closing its border with Belarus, a close political and economic ally.

Last week the Russian government announced measures to support the tumbling ruble amid falling oil prices after OPEC and Moscow failed to agree a deal to reduce output and Saudi Arabia launched an all-out price war.

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