MOSCOW, September 7 (Itar-Tass) — Corruption in Moscow is bigger than in any other city of Russia, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said in an interview with the Afisha magazine on Friday.
“Only law enforcers can fight it: bring criminal charges and convict the culprits. Although businessmen admit that the pressure is lowering, it is still unprecedented,” he said.
A reshuffle of public officers may also be useful, he said. “We decided today that heads of city district administrations must not hold the position for more than seven years. Rotation is necessary. A person cannot hold the same position always. We are replacing our prefects, slowly but surely,” the mayor said.
“Conditions for business should change, too. We are eliminating certain formalities. Say, there are summer cafes. Each year businessmen had to seek a permit for opening a summer cafe. We decided that it would be enough to obtain a permit just once,” he said. “I agree that the working environment must be convenient.”
The city authorities are normalizing the small business situation, Sobyanin said. “Earlier, petty retailers had to struggle through the mafia to obtain their permits, and the city did not have an appropriate range of commodities, goods quality and location of outlets. They built [kiosks] wherever they wanted. They sold what they wanted. I cannot say the situation has changed totally, but we have at least set places for retail outlets and the range of goods they sell,” he said.
The magazine pointed to the excessively high rent paid by small business. “We tried to lease space to small companies at preferential prices. Did small business use the opportunity? No, it was used by intermediaries, who leased the space at the rates five or more times larger and made their money. Neither the city nor small business got the money,” Sobyanin said.