04.03.2016 — Russian Government Approves 15 New Industrial Parks

The Russian Government has issued a Decree approving 15 projects creating industrial parks as well as setting forth the procedure and conditions of subsidies’ assignment for the year 2016. The Decree was issued within the ‘Industrial Development and Enhanced Competitiveness’ programme and its ‘Industrial parks’ sub-programme.

The Government plans to assign subsidies amounting to up to RUR 4 274.2 million to management companies and resident companies of industrial parks. It will be recalled that the said subsidies can be used to partially reimburse costs incurred by these companies through payment of interest under loan agreements concluded to create and develop industrial parks’ infrastructure. The maximum subsidies’ amount shall be calculated based on nine tenths of the key interest rate of the Russian Central Bank on the day the interest under the loan agreement shall be payable, however it cannot exceed 40% of the total budget obligations’ limit provided by the Russian Government to the Ministry of Industry and Trade (Minpromtorg) for these purposes in the current financial year.

‘Technopolis Moscow’, ‘Zavolzhye’ industrial zone (Ulyanovsk Region), ‘Uzlovaya’ (Tula Region), and ‘Biotechnopark’ (Novosibirsk Region) were listed in the Decree among other new industrial parks.

03.03.2016 — Russian PM Approves Bailout Program-2016

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has approved the bailout program for the year 2016. The program provides for economic diversification and securing sustainable economic growth. Among other things, the plan specified the amount of funds allocated in the federal budget in order to pursue crisis response measures. Additional sources of financing and the amount of such financing will be specified at the end of the first quarter of 2016.

Notably, RUB 11.1 billion has been allocated in the federal budget in order to support small and medium-sized enterprises. Moreover, the Government is planning to actively pursue the practice of entering into public-private partnerships and to ensure the decrease of administrative pressure inflicted upon business representatives. Thus, the State Duma has started considering a draft bill providing for the decriminalisation of more than 30 economic offences.

The program shall be carried out by federal and regional executive authorities, the Bank of Russia and other interested organisations, which are obliged, among other things, to file special reports on the program implementation with the Ministry of Economic Development. 

02.03.2016 — Pretrial Complaint Procedure Compulsory in Arbitrazh Courts from June 2016

Vladimir Putin has approved a Federal law developed by the Russian Supreme Court. The law provides for a compulsory pretrial complaint procedure in arbitrazh courts and relevant changes in the Arbitrazh procedure code. The amendments will enter into force on June 01, 2016.

Pursuant to the said law, arbitrazh courts will not be able to hear the case unless the claimant had presented the claim to the defendant before initiating the action in court. The claimant is entitled to file a suit within 30 days as of the moment he tried to settle the claim extra-judicially. Importantly, however, the new rule will not be applicable to cases dealing with the establishment of legal facts, payment of compensation for delays in judicial proceedings, bankruptcy proceedings, corporate disputes, protection of group rights, premature termination of trademark registration, and challenging of arbitral awards.

It will be recalled that the Supreme Court has recently specified a number of moot points with regard to recovery of judicial costs. Among other things, the court noted that the costs incurred through a pretrial complaint procedure shall be recoverable from the losing party provided that the said procedure is compulsory under statute or contract. 

01.03.2016 — Foreign Investors Show Interest in Special Investment Contracts

The Ministry of Industry and Trade (Minpromtorg) has received 10 requests to sign the so-called special investment contracts, i.e. three-party agreements signed by and between regional authorities, federal authorities and a foreign investor under which the latter enjoys preferential tax treatment, purchase and other benefits.

According to Minpromtorg, the use of special investment contracts is quite compliant with the import substitution policy currently implemented by the Russian authorities. A special investment contract is a transparent means for foreign companies to invest in Russia, which ensures a friendly investment environment in various sectors of the Russian economy.

29.02.2016 — No Need to Stop Borrowed Labour Practices - Rostrud Says

The Federal Labour and Employment Service (Rostrud) has clarified that obligations undertaken under the outstaffing contracts entered into force before January 01, 2016 shall be performed according to their terms and conditions and pursuant to relevant legislation. Thus, such contracts do not need to be renegotiated so as to comply with the new legislation.

It will be recalled that the Federal law No. 116-FZ that entered into force on January 01, 2016 prohibited borrowed labour and substantially limited the possibility of the temporary engagement of another company’s employees.

Before Rostrud made the above clarification, practitioners considered that companies using an ‘outstaffing’ business model would have to renegotiate their contracts both, with their employees and their business partners that had borrowed the employees, and would have to bring all their documentation in line with the new legislation. It is now clear, however, that the terms and conditions of the outstaffing contracts concluded before January 01, 2016 will stay in force pursuant to Article 422 of the Russian Civil Code and do not need to be renegotiated.