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Emergencies Minister Reaches Out to Small Business

Emergency Situations Minister Vladimir Puchkov reached out to small business owners on Tuesday, suggesting that they help improve the system of fire-safety checks to make them less burdensome.

Puchkov said it was "high time that we put a stop to checks on small and medium-sized businesses" without the adoption of a system approved by Opora, the lobbying group for small and medium-sized businesses, Interfax reported.

As a step toward an improved system, Puchkov, speaking at a meeting with Opora leaders, proposed free legal training on fire safety policies for entrepreneurs and their top management.

"A few unqualified inspectors may exploit the unawareness of managers of small and medium-sized business toward regulations," he said.

Opora chairman Sergei Borisov said he appreciated the opportunity to hold quarterly "brainstorming" sessions with the Emergency Situations Ministry, calling them "very effective."

Fire-safety inspections, which are conducted by branches of the ministry throughout the country, are the bane of business owners, many of whom find it difficult or impossible to receive documentation that they meet the requirements without a bribe.

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