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Tatarstan's Small Business Owners Protest Tax Increases

Employees rally against the administration of Kazan
Employees rally against the administration of Kazan
More than 300 owners of small businesses and local Communists have marched in Kazan to protest tax increases, RFE/RL's Russian and Tatar-Bashkir services report.

The protesters -- many of them owners of restaurants, small shops, and parking spaces -- said during the rally on February 21 that they have had to raise their prices to stay in business as a result of the property tax increases that took effect on January 1.

They also demanded the government cut gas prices and public transport fares.

The protesters marched from the Tatar capital's Liberty Square, which houses the government and parliament buildings, to May First Square, where the Tatar president's residence and the Kazan mayor's office are located.

Citing a decline in revenue since most tax receipts are now directed to Moscow, the Kazan City Council decided last year to raise property taxes from 0.1-0.5 percent to a top rate of 1.5 percent of the official property value as of January 1.

The city also recalculated the value of land it rents to businesses, charging more for the land. Those changes affect mostly small businesses like traders at markets and the owners of parking space.

The General-Prosecutor's Office has already filed a protest against the tax increases, and the city council will debate the policy and the possibility of nullifying the tax increases at its March 3 session.

Read more in Russian here