The history of the struggle of the NTO owners for the existence of their business in the capital of the Urals is long, rich and dramatic. Plans to reduce the number of pavilions, including newspaper pavilions, were announced by the Yekaterinburg City Council in 2018. For example, according to the new ONT location scheme, of the existing 39 newsstands in the district from Ordzhonikidzevsky, only 21 would remain.
You can always find formal reasons for the liquidation of NTO: installation in violation of the rules of improvement, claims of the traffic police (entering the “triangle of visibility”) or the construction of a post in the security zone of networks heating (which, however, the electrical engineers themselves refute). After a joint investigation by journalists from five publications – Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Komsomolskaya Pravda, Kommersant, Oblastnaya Gazeta and Arguments and Facts – the officials promised to leave the kiosks where they were.
However, it was too soon to celebrate. The new NTO placement strategy provided for a reduction in the number of street pavilions of all types by almost three times and the eviction of most of the remaining ones from the city center to the outskirts. True, the then head Alexander Vysokinsky promised not to touch the kiosks with the press and flowers, but the businessmen no longer believed in the best. Tired of proving their usefulness to the mayor’s office, they sent an appeal to the president of the country, signed by 120 people. After several meetings with representatives of the city and regional authorities, the transition to the new ONT design was postponed for three years.
The pandemic has taken the sharpness out of the problem, plus some of the pavilions have already closed due to a sharp decline in customer traffic. But the state of the economy as a whole is such that it is still not easier for small businesses. Would a two-year contract extension without an auction change the lives of small businesses for the better? The coordinator of the Coalition of owners of small retail formats and kiosks in the Sverdlovsk region, a member of the Union of Small and Medium-sized Businesses Ildar Rakhmatullin has great doubts about this.
Too many stalls are closing already, and the city can’t run out of street vendors
– In my opinion, such a short term is accepted only in our region, in others – at least five years. In the Sverdlovsk region, at first they wanted to do one year, but two is not enough to really lift the economy. In fact, the federal decree set a seven-year term to extend contracts without auctions, but it was later explained in a footnote: “at the discretion of the regional authorities.” I think that when making such decisions, it would be good to consult with us, he shared his opinion with RG.
By the way, the permits to organize retail markets and fairs were extended by the same document for five years.
Meanwhile, the Yekaterinburg administration continues to look for ways to optimize small retail. There are now around 2000 NTOs in the layout. And on the streets there are approximately the same number of illegal stalls. Most of their owners claim that they dream of a legal status, but it is not so easy to achieve it, they complain about subjectivity and strict requirements of the mayor’s office (for example, the uniformity in the appearance of the kiosks -updating according to the proposed sketches cost several million rubles). The city authorities, in turn, accuse the businessmen of a variety of violations, in general, the parties cannot agree in any way.
The recent decree of the head of Yekaterinburg, Alexei Orlov, seems to be designed to develop a certain common approach. The document describes in detail the mechanism for determining the legal status of a non-stationary trade object, as well as the procedure for decommissioning if this status was not obtained. Despite the fact that from now on they promise to decide the fate of the ONT collectively, by a special commission of 5-7 officials in each district, the distrust of the posts does not diminish.
– The new resolution, in fact, simplifies the reduction of previously legally established ONTs, but does not fundamentally solve the problem. Actually, it is not necessary at all, since according to article 10 of the regional law No. 52, a seller who sells on an illegally established ONT can be liable every day. But the administration does it selectively and so often that the problem of illegal immigrants is not solved, – says the representative of the owners of the ONT, Denis Rudakov.
According to him, now the mayor’s office has the right, without trial, to unilaterally terminate the contract for the placement of the kiosk and dismantle it. But if some stalls (for example, those selling fireworks) return often, then there are no cases of “reincarnation” of “Vegetables and Fruits” pavilions or kiosks.
Ildar Rakhmatullin’s prognosis is not rosy either:
– It is not yet clear what will happen with the implementation of the decree in practice. The fact is that in relation to NTO there is still no amendment to 381-FZ “On the fundamentals of state regulation of business activities in the Russian Federation” in terms of land management. If a place is allocated, for example, for trade in flowers, but they are not for sale, it is impossible to switch to another product – the contract is concluded specifically for flowers. The official refuses to request a change of specialization. But small businesses survive because they can make decisions quickly. In this case, it turns out that he is deprived of such an opportunity, Rakhmatullin argues.
However, among entrepreneurs there are those who are calm in the face of innovations.
– Many of my colleagues criticized the two-year extension of the contract, but I think there is nothing to worry about. I think that in two years the authorities will once again extend the contracts. Too many kiosks are closing now, and the city cannot be completely without street trade. You cannot drive all the sellers under the roof of the shopping center. Perhaps today the municipality will be even more interested in us, the tenants, – hopes the owner of several Rospechat kiosks, Olga Shcherbakova.
At the same time, according to her, the problem of opening ONT in new areas remains – developers who set the rental price here do not think to reduce it. This is the main reason for the absence of newspaper pavilions, for example, in Solnechny.