Russian cosmonaut Pavel Vinogradav this year became the first person ever to pay his taxes from space. In May, Vinogradav took advantage of the Russian Federal Tax Service’s new website which had been redesigned to make paying taxes much easier. This is just one of the reasons that has contributed to Russia’s rise in the World Bank’s annual Ease of Doing Business Report from 111 to 92, placing it ahead of China, Brazil and other Bric nations. Along with Ukraine, the Philippines, Kosovo and Rwanda, Russia has made the biggest jump in the report’s rankings.
According to the report, improvement can be attributed to a number of factors. It is now easier to start a business in Russia, to obtain a permanent electricity connection for a newly constructed business, register a property and apply for a construction permit. The latter is connected to a law passed more than a decade ago that was only adopted by the Moscow government in 2011, replacing a number of ad hoc regulations. Builders are only now beginning to feel the benefits, the report states. The cost and ease of obtaining an electricity connection as also been improved by streamlining procedures and standardising tariffs.
The improvements have been described by the Financial Times as “effective but bland”. In an interview with Rita Ramalho, who oversaw the report, she says that while there has been a “huge reform effort” what Moscow ultimately needs is a change in mentality.