Tax discounts for books and periodicals have been cancelled in the country since January 1. Prices in almost all bookshops have been increased by minimum of 20% as of now. The book market is in a mess, and officials and experts who disagree with the new regulations trust in lawmakers' thoughtfulness, hoping to change the tax rates. Publishers are amazed at the authorities' decision to keep the 10% discounted VAT rate for magazines and to deprive fiction of this privilege. Textbooks also have a discount, but a discount burdening schools and parents: now they are subject to a 10% VAT rate instead of a zero rate which applied to them earlier. It is still unclear what tax burden will be imposed on scientific and specialized books with small circulation, orientated mainly towards intellectual readers. Notes informing buyers that prices of goods are subject to change "due to the implementation of the Second Part of the Tax Code" appeared in almost all large bookshops after the New Year. The situation with educational books is somewhat better: following an initiative by some state agencies responsible for policies on culture, a 10% VAT rate has been applied to this category of goods since January 1, and its price will increase less sharply that those of other kinds of books, the Izvestia newspaper wrote.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced the termination of diplomatic relations with NATO at a time when US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin ended a meeting in Georgia with his counterpart