Ingushetia is a region with traditionally low income and high unemployment, which is around 30 per cent. This year, authorities have reported a drop in the unemployment rate and the introduction of a program to subsidize employers who hire the unemployed. In addition, low-income people with incomes below the norm are supported in the form of housing and utilities subsidies, but often these benefits simply do not reach the people.
“People are being denied payments.”
Maksharip Dzakhkiev is a father with many children and a recipient of the 2016 Order of Parental Glory, which was presented to him personally by Putin. The man recorded a video appeal in which he complained that he could not get the benefits he was entitled to from the state.
The Labour Ministry has a programme to support low-income families whose subsistence level is below the government’s minimum subsistence level, Maqsharip said. Individual entrepreneurs and self-employed people from this group can receive a one-time allowance for enterprise development.
“I was told that they would sign a social contract and pay 250,000 for individual entrepreneurs and 100,000 for the self-employed,” says Maksharip. – But when I came to the employment service to submit my documents, they told me to register as self-employed. And I am an individual entrepreneur. I pay taxes of 45 thousand rubles a year!
According to Maksharip, he was forced to register as self-employed in order to reduce the amount of benefits. He received the Order of Parental Glory in 2016 and, according to him, has been fighting with officials ever since because the law on large families in the country is not being enforced.
“I applied to the Prosecutor’s Office, the Human Rights Ombudsman, I went through all the bodies, wrote letters to all the instances up to the Presidential Administration. Last year I wanted to go and picket the AP building in Moscow and after that I was allocated a plot of land in Inarki for the development of a peasant farm, which I ploughed and am going to sow winter crops this year,” says Maksharip.
According to him, at the end of August he wrote a statement to the prosecutor’s office, the office sent a letter to the Ministry of Labor, and they, in turn, said that if Maksharip did not bring a certificate that he was self-employed, they would deny him the payment.
There are huge queues at the employment service of Malgobeksky district, where he is registered. “People want the payments, but more often than not they are denied,” claims the father of many children.
On 16 October, Dzakhkiev received a notice from the client service of the social protection of the population in the Malgobek district about the unilateral termination of his contract. The document signed by Ibrahim Sautiyev, head of the Employment Service, states that on August 23, 2021 Dzakhkiyev signed a social contract “within the framework of an activity for running a private farm with the approval of the social adaptation program” and that he is to be registered with the tax authority as a taxpayer. The letter also states that the extract from the Unified State Register of Individual Entrepreneurs provided by Dzakhkiyev stating that he is registered as the head of a collective farm (peasant farming enterprise) does not confirm the fact that he is a payer of professional income tax.
According to the letter, if a man fails to register with the tax authority by August 23, his contract is unilaterally terminated.
Sautiyev commented on the situation this way: “We signed a social contract with Dzakhkiev, but he did not submit the necessary documents. If he had done so, we would have had no problem continuing the contract with him and making payments”.
However, Dzakhkiev does not agree with this decision. According to him, he applied to the tax service, where he was told that his status as an individual entrepreneur was enough. Therefore, the man intends to hold a picket, about which, according to him, he has already notified the head of Pyatigorsk.
“The purpose of the picket is to draw the attention of the authorities of Ingushetia and the North Caucasus Federal District to discrimination against poor families by the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Relations,” Dzakhkiev explains his protest. – Families like ours are being denied social contracts. Besides, I want to draw attention to the corruption reigning in this ministry”.
“Shifting the blame to each other.”
“It used to be much easier to pay housing and utilities allowance, you just hand in meter readings and pay 50% of the readings, but then they made it all more complicated. First we have to make 100% payment for three months, and then only the state returns benefits and that for one month. And if there is a debt to pay, the payments stop automatically. Because of these changes there is a big debt,” says Magomed Yevloyev, a resident of Ingushetia, who was quoted as saying by Kavkaz.Reality*.
He said the changes began in May 2020 and are due to budget savings. Magomed is the son of a repressed resident of Ingushetia; according to the law this category of citizens is entitled to a 50% discount on utility payments, but Magomed has not been able to obtain compensation for a month already. According to the man, the Malgobek department of social protection explains this by the fact that the Ministry of Finance has not transferred the payments. When contacting ministries and departments, they shift the blame on each other: the Ministry of Labor on the energy companies, and the Ministry of Finance on the Ministry of Labor.
“I applied to every place I could think of. In the Social Security Department they say that this is a government decree, dictated by budget savings, and they do not give any number or other information about the decree. I looked at an earlier government decree, and it does say that if there is a debt, then payment of a lump-sum compensation is automatically stopped, but it does not say that the money must be paid in advance,” said Yevloyev.
According to him, this innovation is detrimental to low-income residents of Ingushetia, because payments in the wintertime amount to 5-6 thousand rubles, while the average monthly salary of the population is 15-20 thousand rubles, and the region is one of the leaders in Russia in terms of unemployment. Magomed Yevloyev also said that he knows many villagers with similar problems, as evidenced, according to him, by the huge queues at the Social Security Service of Malgobek district.
It was not possible to get a comment from a service representative.
* The publication is included in the list foreign media performing the functions of a foreign agent, compiled by the Russian Ministry of Justice.