Putin Hears Concerns From Disability Groups, Orders Government To Make Changes
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
November 29, 2002
MOSCOW, RUSSIA--President Vladimir Putin this week ordered his ministers to put together plans to improve conditions for the 11 million Russians with disabilities.
Putin met with leaders of several groups representing Russians that are blind or deaf, along with veterans from the Afghan war, and victims of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.
The advocates presented Putin with a list of concerns. Most worrisome, they said, is the new tax code which has removed tax breaks and incentives for companies that hire workers with disabilities. The head of the Russian Society for the Blind told Putin that withdrawing those tax breaks would force businesses operated and staffed by such workers to close down.
The President has urged his government to come up with new tax incentives before the end of the current fiscal year.
Putin said that during the Soviet era people with disabilities were outcasts and made to feel ashamed. Accompanied by a sign language interpreter, he said that while some of this has changed, there is much more to be done.
"We still have a long way to go in this respect," Putin said, according to Friday's BBC News.
Nearly one in every ten Russians has a disability, and the numbers are growing, the news service noted.