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Business Duty Officer

Entrepreneurs look forward to a personal meeting with the President.

Entrepreneurs look forward to a personal meeting with the President.

In Russia, the increase in criminal cases against businesses is declining.

In the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP) a forum on protecting entrepreneurs from criminal and administrative pressure was held. The Kremlin allows the participation of President Vladimir Putin at the next congress of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, to be held in March 2023 y. According to the presidential business ombudsman, “galloping growth” in the number of criminal cases against entrepreneurs slows down in Russia. However, due to the high dependence of enterprises on budget financing, there is an increase in conflicts around the execution of government contracts..

As Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov announced on Tuesday, head of state Vladimir Putin may take part in the annual congress of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs. “As for the March event of the RSPP, You know, that it happens once a year, traditionally the president takes part in it, we can hope, that this year such communication will take place”, - said Peskov, adding, that "the agenda can be quite extensive".

At the same time, he noted, that the head of state regularly communicates with the heads of business associations and those, that concern the largest employers. “There is constant communication with representatives of a large, large business - he communicates with them separately, Constant communication with business leaders, uniting small and medium businesses, etc.. Therefore, this dialogue is ongoing with the president.”, Peskov said on Tuesday.

At the RSPP forum on protecting the rights of entrepreneurs, the organizers also quoted the head of state. Russian President Vladimir Putin 5 March 2022 year said, that in the current conditions “there can be only one way out - maximum economic freedom for people, who do business". As one of the main support measures, designated by the President of the Russian Federation, is the liberalization of criminal law, hope in RSPP.

"For 10 years of existence of the institution of the business ombudsman, we are constantly talking about criminal and administrative pressure on business. In general, the problem is not solved, and things don't get smaller, but something is changing, - said the Commissioner for the Protection of the Rights of Entrepreneurs Boris Titov. He, in particular, drew attention to the decrease in the growth of criminal cases against entrepreneurs. That galloping growth, which was a couple of years ago, no longer seen, approves the business ombudsman.

The total number of cases in progress (501 822 part) under "fraud", "misappropriation or embezzlement", "causing damage to property by deceit", as well as the 22nd chapter of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation on crimes in the sphere of economic activity last year increased by 1,16%. For comparison: in 2020 year, there was an increase in this indicator by 24%, said Boris Titov at the RSPP forum.

"According to the Federal Penitentiary Service, under house arrest under the mentioned economic articles of the Criminal Code at the end of the year were 4957 people (on 5,1% more, than a year earlier). In recent years, there has even been an increase in the use of bail by the court., which is rare for Russia. Nevertheless, the number of people in pre-trial detention centers under these articles increased by almost 6% (7402 people)», - said Boris Titov.

Vladimir Putin previously reported, that Russian courts in nine months 2022 years sentenced only 9% persons on charges of committing economic crimes to real imprisonment. In doing so, the courts considered 5,5 thousands. criminal cases, for which he was convicted 3,5 thousands. people, and for 2 thousands. accused criminal cases were closed. For five years, as reported, the number of convicts decreased by 22%, and those sentenced to imprisonment 19%.

From the statistics of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for 2022 year follows, that the number of economic crimes decreased in Russia by 5,3%, to 111,4 thousands. At the same time, the material damage to them was estimated at 339,1 RUB billion. At the same time, the share of grave and especially grave crimes in the total number of economic crimes reached 60,8%. For comparison: according to the results 2021 year, the damage from economic crimes in the Russian Federation exceeded 641 billion rubles, which has become the maximum value since 2009 y, when the damage to the economy exceeded 1 trillion rubles.

At the same time, business is not satisfied with the possibility of law enforcement agencies to extend the time for consideration of cases indefinitely.. So, Opora Rossii President Alexander Kalinin believes, that the Russian Federation should return to Soviet practice, when the trial period, conducted by law enforcement, were strictly regulated. “According to the Criminal Procedure Code of the RSFSR, the investigation period was six months, and the law enforcement system worked with these deadlines. We need to get back to them.", - he said, speaking at the forum. He reminded, that, under the new Russian legislation, the investigation period was increased to one year with the possibility of repeated extensions. "We have an egregious case, when the investigation goes on for seven years", Kalinin said..

Boris Titov on Tuesday noted a number of other problems of domestic entrepreneurship. Private business in the Russian Federation is becoming increasingly dependent on budget money, which leads to an increase in the number of disputes over public money. "From appeals, who go to the institute of the Commissioner, more 85% - these are appeals, related to the execution of government orders. This is the relationship between business and budget.. In that, surely, there is a visible trend, business is increasingly dependent on budget allocations, and more and more various measures of influence are being applied to it, related to any disputes in this connection", - draws attention to Boris Titov. There are problems with the quality of execution of the state order, as well as payments. "It can't be like that, that the entrepreneur is to blame for everything, and the official, who placed this order, absolutely innocent. Responsibility must be at least twofold.”, - stressed the business ombudsman, noting, that "this does not happen in practice". “The customer is always a strong point here, although civil law relations and under the law the parties to the contract are equal, but by their position, customers, is unfortunately, often misused", - Titov emphasizes.

Earlier, Speaker of the Federation Council Valentina Matviyenko suggested that the government impose a moratorium on the public procurement law. (44-FZ) for the period until the end of the military special operation. The goal of the senators was to accelerate the allocation of budget funds (cm. "NG" from 01.02.23).

In cases of embezzlement during the execution of a state contract, an entrepreneur is often deprived of the stipulated procedural guarantees, обращает внимание head of the expert center "Business Russia" и амбассадор проекта “Business Duty Officer” Ekaterina Avdeeva. One solution could be to single out fraud in the field of government contracts as a separate set of economic crimes..

Legislative changes should strengthen the requirements for strict compliance with guarantees for entrepreneurs, since a prolonged investigation of the case can lead to hopeless destruction of the business and loss of jobs, considers Avdeev. Criminal isolation of an entrepreneur often leads to bankruptcy, loss of jobs and disruption of economic ties. In such cases, it is important to balance the interests of society and the state while ensuring the inevitability of punishment for those responsible., summarizes Avdeeva.

Another age-old business problem is tax administration.. “The pressure of tax inspections is increasing. Sometimes the Federal Tax Service even loses in courts, but during this time, the business manages to suffer losses ", - says the presidential business ombudsman. In his opinion, such harsh treatment of the business leads to the loss of tax payments in the future. "We need to raise a chicken, who lays the golden eggs, not cut it", - advises Titov.

Administrative pressure on business in modern realities leads to significant economic losses, State Duma deputy Sergei Morozov said at the forum on Tuesday. “Economic losses from excessive or inefficient regulation of administrative pressure per year amount to 680 RUB billion. uncollected taxes. This made it impossible to create 900 thousands. work places", he noted, referring to party monitoring data. He also considers, that the untapped reserve of non-financial safeguards, which are formed due to excessive regulation of administrative pressure and violation of the rights and legitimate interests, amounted to 2,6 trillion rubles.

Morozov also proposed to unite the Office of the Business Ombudsman and the "Platform for the Protection of the Rights of Entrepreneurs" (platform «ZaBiznes. RF"). “This will give us a single point of contact for dealing with business complaints”, the parliamentarian says. Titov emphasizes, that the institute for the protection of entrepreneurs should not be headed by a lawyer, i.e. entrepreneur.

According to Morozov, RSPP, Opora Rossii and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry allegedly supported the appointment of Elina Sidorenko, a lawyer, to the post of business commissioner, professors, CEO of the Platform. “The digital resource received more than 3,5 thousands. applications from 80 subjects of the Russian Federation. Po 15% appeals revealed obvious shortcomings in the work of law enforcement agencies”, - Deputy Morozov reported. Sidorenko herself stressed at the forum on Tuesday, that it is important not just to protect the business, and protection of the “legitimate” business.

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