Starting April 1, 2022 the Russian government introduces a moratorium on bankruptcy initiated by creditors. The moratorium applies to all legal entities and individuals, with the only exception being the developers whose constructions are currently on the list of “problematic” projects.
The moratorium shall last for 6 months and is only applicable to involuntary bankruptcy, i.e. commencement of a bankruptcy procedure pursuant to a creditor’s application. The applications filed by creditors after April 1, as well as those filed before April 1 but not yet scheduled for court review, will be rejected and returned to applicants.
Voluntary bankruptcy is still possible. Besides, any person or entity may waive the application of the moratorium for itself and its creditors.
Apart from commencement of new bankruptcies, this measure also affects the existing debtors. The moratorium suspends obligations of insolvent debtors to file for bankruptcy, stays ongoing enforcement proceedings (but does not lift freezes already imposed) and recoveries against the debtor’s pledged property. It also prohibits debtors to take actions resulting in unjust repayment to creditors, such as buyback of shares and payment of dividends.
The moratorium amendments were first introduced into the Russian Bankruptcy Law in April 2020, when the government used the mechanism to support businesses most affected by COVID-19. The “pandemic” moratorium lasted in Russia for 9 months – from April 2020 until January 2021. The law provides that a moratorium may be introduced in the event of emergencies, including dramatic changes in the Russian ruble exchange rate, and may be extended upon the resolution of the government.
See Article 9.1 of the Federal law dated October 26, 2002 No 127-FZ “On insolvency (bankruptcy)”, as amended; Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation dated March 28, 2022 No 494.