Excessive criminalization is taking place. <...> Economic disputes should not turn into criminal ones. <...> Why are we talking about this again now? The situation has changed, changed in favour of greater economic freedom and... criminal policy. <...> Fear of being held criminally liable, of course, greatly affects the business climate. It’s not so much the fear of a conviction as the initiation of a criminal case, which damages business ties and reputations. <...> But we can’t leave public interests unprotected. <...> In order to solve this problem, we have to form a new paradigm which would create a balance. <...> This requires painstaking legal work. We need research work followed by practical conclusions — Vadim Zaripov, Head of Analytical Service, Pepeliaev Group.
At present, entrepreneurs... are not fully capable of acting according to the law. Criminal law as a last instance has to be very clear and give a clear understanding... how to act. <...> We have two aspects – public law... and civil law. Now, there is a problem in public law, the excessive criminalization of any offence. <...> This should not be the case. An entrepreneur should have a clear line which cannot be crossed, otherwise they will be held criminally liable — Artem Lomize, Vice President, Association of Fish Processing and Trading Companies.
This year marks ten years since the state human rights institution – Business Ombudsman – was established in the Russian Federation. The annual report by the Federal Business Ombudsman, Boris Titov, the Presidential Commissioner Presidential Commissioner for Entrepreneurs' Rights to the Russian President Vladimir Putin, is one of the forms of reporting. This year such a report was presented too. In preparation for the report, materials are gathered, information is analysed, and a survey is conducted by the Federal Guard Service regarding various entrepreneurial problems. All this information was processed and presented in the report. <...> Surveys were conducted in all 85 federal subjects of the Russian Federation. The question was “In your opinion, is business in the Russian Federation protected from unwarranted criminal prosecution?” – and 51% of those surveyed cumulatively answered “rather not” or a definite “no”. So, 51% of responders do not believe businesses in the Russian Federation are protected from criminal prosecution! <...> So, what is the fate of prosecutions for economic crimes? Colleagues, 40% of the cases are still pending, so we can't say anything about their fate yet. They are under investigation. An acquittal, dismissal, or stay of proceedings is another 40%. What does it mean to have been in business for more than 10 years in Russia? I would say... one year counts as at least three. <...> What are the consequences of criminal proceedings against businessmen? A total of 74% of those who have been criminally prosecuted said that their business was completely or partly destroyed and that they do not plan to run it any more. <...> It seems to me that this is more than enough of an illustration to talk about the problem, and better yet, to address it — Elena Artukh, Commissioner of the Sverdlovsk Region for the Protection of Entrepreneurs’ Rights.