Russian news portal Slon.ru writes about the phenomenon of rising fines in Russia as one of the manifestations of the economic downturn. The imminent depletion of the national Reserve Fund and the rising budget deficits force the Government to look for additional sources of revenue. Taxes and duties are not the only way to extract money from the economy, Slon.ru notes. Under the pretense of the necessity to tighten the discipline, the Russian Government has been substantially rising fines during the past two years. Slon.ru lists ten examples, starting with a dizzying 650% increase in fire safety fines, from 1-2 thousand rubles (USD 15-30) to 6-15 thousand rubles (USD 90-180) for individuals. The increase is even bigger for companies, which can be held liable to pay anywhere between 150-200 thousand rubles in case of fire safety non-compliance (USD 2,300-3,000; previously, respective fines for companies ranged from 10-20 thousand rubles). The fines are used to finance the bloated Russian State Fire Service with a staff of approximately 100,000. In view of the government’s increased dedication to fire safety, it is outright bizarre to consider that the material damages caused by fires in the country increased from 11.1 billion rubles in 2009 to 18.8 billion rubles in 2015 (comparison in U.S. dollars makes little sense because of the 2014/2015 devaluation of the ruble).
Work safety is another issue of particular concern to the Government. Should a company with a staff of 100 fail to provide safety training to its employees, it can end up paying 13 million rubles (USD 200,000) or 260 times more than before 2015.