A socially oriented non-financial development institution and a major organizer of international conventions, congress, exhibitions, business, social and sporting, public, and cultural events.

The Roscongress Foundation is a socially oriented non-financial development institution and a major organizer of international conventions; exhibitions; and business, public, sporting, and cultural events. It was established in pursuance of a decision by the President of the Russian Federation.

The Foundation was established in 2007 with the aim of facilitating the development of Russia’s economic potential, promoting its national interests, and strengthening the country’s image. One of the roles of the Foundation is to comprehensively evaluate, analyse, and cover issues on the Russian and global economic agendas. It also offers administrative services, provides promotional support for business projects and attracting investment, and helps foster social entrepreneurship and charitable initiatives.

Each year, the Foundation’s events draw participants from 208 countries and territories, with more than 15,000 media representatives working on-site at Roscongress’ various venues. The Foundation benefits from analytical and professional expertise provided by 5000 people working in Russia and abroad. In addition, it works in close cooperation with 159 economic partners; industrialists’ and entrepreneurs’ unions; and financial, trade, and business associations from 75 countries worldwide.

The Roscongress Foundation has Telegram channels in Russian (t.me/Roscongress), English (t.me/RoscongressDirect), and Spanish (t.me/RoscongressEsp). Official website and Information and Analytical System of the Roscongress Foundation: roscongress.org.

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Is the New Normal a Temporary or Permanent Phenomenon?
3 June 2021
11:00—12:15
KEY CONCLUSIONS
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We know how to cope with this pandemic. There will not be another one like that. There will be a different one. We need to reinforce and develop this skill – to know how to cope – and learn all lessons, and we are doing it right now. Now, by order of the President, we are creating a sanitary shield for the country so that we are ready for various threats — Anna Popova, Head of the Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing - Chief State Sanitary Physician of the Russian Federation.

Large groups of tourists are coming back. We are ready for this: they will visit the museum at certain hours in the morning and at certain hours in the evening. <...> We have explained to everyone that the tourism will be there, but we should not build the economy on tourism, we should not rely on tourism for income. This is very important from the psychological point of view — Mikhail Piotrovsky, General Director, The State Hermitage Museum.

Blended learning is going to become part of our life in the long run. This means that digital technologies are not going anywhere. <...> But it will not be able to fully replace <...> real-life communication and interaction. Both teachers and students need this — Victoria Panova, Vice-Rector for International Relations, FEFU, Russian W20 Representative.

Is it temporary or permanent? It has come for at least quite a while, but maybe forever. But I think that we should not be afraid of this new normal. The corporate sector will become more socially responsible, more flexible, and more digital after the pandemic. <...> COVID-19 concerns us all. State, business and society need to join efforts to fight it — Andrey Grachev, Vice President for Federal and Regional Programs, Norilsk Nickel.

ISSUES
Many industries have faced changes

Global GDP decreased by 4.5%, EU GDP – by 7.4%, in the UK and Spain – by 12%, in France – by 8.3%, and in the United States – by 3.5%. According to the OECD, the global economy shrank by 3.5% in 2020, and Russia will be one of the countries to recover very quickly. Russia lost about 3%, which indicates how life has changed: it has become more challenging — Anna Popova, Head of the Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing - Chief State Sanitary Physician of the Russian Federation.

We have witnessed a shift in consumption. People now go to restaurants less or do not go at all, and consume more products at home. The product range has also been changing, and we had to restructure processes, production lines, to reorient factories to other products in order to adapt to new realities — Sergey Mikhailov, General Director, Chairman of the Executive Board, Cherkizovo Group .

The fact that in Russia there was no second and third lockdown led to a much faster economic recovery than in most countries. Excluding some industries, such as air transportation, fitness, concerts and exhibitions, today we have already exceeded pre-pandemic turnovers. In small business, the official employment has even increased over this year — Alexander Kalinin, President, All-Russian Non-Governmental Organization of Small and Medium-Sized Businesses Opora Russia.

In the West up to 70% of ballet companies will cease to exist; if no plans for 2021–2022 are announced, we will lose almost all companies that existed mostly on donations. <...> The whole world is standing still, especially New York. What is happening to the Metropolitan [Opera, Ed.] is a terrible tragedy. It is [impossible, Ed.] to imagine. Such things did not happen even during the war. All theatres worked under the Siege — Vladimir Kekhman, Artistic director, Mikhailovsky Theatre.

Difficulties with vaccination of foreigners

We need to allow foreigners to get vaccinated. There are many of them among students, and the faster they get this opportunity, the safer will be the environment that we are creating — Victoria Panova, Vice-Rector for International Relations, FEFU, Russian W20 Representative.

I fully support [vaccination, Ed.] for foreigners. If it is possible, then yes,” Vladimir Kekhman, Artistic director — Vladimir Kekhman, Artistic director, Mikhailovsky Theatre.

Few small business employees are vaccinated

Among small business employees, many have had the coronavirus, but few are vaccinated — Anna Popova, Head of the Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing - Chief State Sanitary Physician of the Russian Federation.

Tighter control over business

Starting 1 July there will be eight types of control: monitoring, company shutdown, if necessary – there are many levers. But the vague wording ‘in case of a threat to life and health’ is now used too often: before the pandemic, there were 1,300,000 inspections, during the pandemic this number fell to 500,000. These measures are now being cancelled. Will there be over a million of them again? Will there be 240 billion in fines again? We do not support it, at least as far as small and medium-sized businesses are concerned — Alexander Kalinin, President, All-Russian Non-Governmental Organization of Small and Medium-Sized Businesses Opora Russia.

High fines for small and medium-sized businesses

You can fine companies. For example, GUM, if I remember correctly, was fined with 500,000 or a million for violation of the mask requirements. We understand this. But if a micro company with three employees received such fine, it would close immediately — Alexander Kalinin, President, All-Russian Non-Governmental Organization of Small and Medium-Sized Businesses Opora Russia.

SOLUTIONS
Digital solutions are becoming increasingly important

Digitalization is a unique source of compensatory measures for maintaining the effectiveness of business projects and business processes in general. The companies where digitalization is a reality rather than a trend have easily accepted new market conditions and adapted to them — Andrey Grachev, Vice President for Federal and Regional Programs, Norilsk Nickel.

During the pandemic all developments related to virtual reality turned out to be much-in-demand. It has always been difficult for us to create an online lecture space: there was resistance both inside and outside. It is now clear that an online lecture space is needed, that any online activity <...> now needs to be monetized — Mikhail Piotrovsky, General Director, The State Hermitage Museum.

Recommendations are of help when customized

Recommendations are a dynamic thing, they can be changed. A very fruitful dialogue happens where businesses had unions or associations. We have changed these recommendations, adapting them to the new realities. <...> It is crucial to understand that we do not need to stop, we should accept the new normal and live on. Great nutritionists say that no diet should compromise the quality of life. So no limitations should compromise the quality of our life — Anna Popova, Head of the Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing - Chief State Sanitary Physician of the Russian Federation.

Regulatory action should only be taken after consulting with those you regulate. This is the key to success. Then the community sees these measures as their own – we have discussed them, we came to a consensus, it is necessary to comply — Alexander Kalinin, President, All-Russian Non-Governmental Organization of Small and Medium-Sized Businesses Opora Russia.

New measures will help protect business from tighter control

A mandatory standard should be introduced into the Code of Administrative Offenses: the first inspection can only lead to a warning, not a fine. <...> Our second initiative is the following: the size of the fine for those on the SME register should be the same as for individual entrepreneurs. The third point is to exclude duplication of fines. Today fines are imposed on both the legal entity and the director. Let's punish only one of them — Alexander Kalinin, President, All-Russian Non-Governmental Organization of Small and Medium-Sized Businesses Opora Russia.

Progressing with the issue of vaccination of foreigners

This is a pressing issue, clear and well-known. And the government is working on it. Tatyana Alekseevna [Golikova, she, Ed.] is seeing to it personally. I think that we will announce a decision on this matter in the near future — Anna Popova, Head of the Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing - Chief State Sanitary Physician of the Russian Federation.

Need to prepare for next pandemics

We need to prepare anyway. Do you remember V. Chernomyrdin’s expression: ‘It never happened, and here we go again’? <...> We already have experience, a legal framework, regulatory documents, experience of interaction – in fact, we do have a toolkit to meet this challenge. I think we should stick to a balanced, practical approach, as opposed to panic and rejection — Andrey Grachev, Vice President for Federal and Regional Programs, Norilsk Nickel.

We have a protocol on what to do in case of a flood. We have a protocol on what to do in case of a terrorist attack. We have a protocol on what to do in case of an epidemic. We just need to change the wordings and make them more down-to-earth. For example, I would say ‘dress code: mask’ rather than ‘mask regime — Mikhail Piotrovsky, General Director, The State Hermitage Museum.