MOSCOW, July 4 (Itar-Tass) - An amnesty for a range of economic crimes has become effective in Russia. The relevant resolution by the State Duma lower house of the Russian parliament was carried by the newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta.
The president submitted the draft resolution on June 25. It calls for amnestying the persons who are being prosecuted or were convicted for crimes in the field of entrepreneurship, or for other crimes the first time, as well as for dropping their criminal prosecution.
The amnesty applies to persons convicted under 26 articles of the penal code, including copyright law violations, illegal entrepreneurship, fraud, money laundering, tax evasion and non-repayment of loans. It also applies to the persons who were given suspended sentences or are on parole. The mandatory condition for qualifying for amnesty is meeting the obligation to return property or reimburse damages. Those who committed crimes with use of violence or threats of violence are not eligible.
Part 2 of Article 172 /illegal banking by organized group including large income derived therefrom/ was taken out of the bill.
The economic amnesty will be effective for six months from the day of coming into force. The number of those eligible for amnesty might range from 3,000 to 10,000.
Speaking at the Petersburg economic forum on June 21, President Vladimir Putin supported the idea of amnesty for entrepreneurs. "The decision about the economic amnesty is not only restoring justice. This decision is a signal to our regulatory and supervisory bodies that still maintain the psychology of the presumption of guilt of the business," Putin stressed.
"It's a possibility to "reset" a wide range of social relations and work of our law enforcement and judicial systems", the head of state pointed out.
More than one-third of Russians support economic amnesty, Russia's business ombudsman Boris Titov said. "We've carried out a poll: 32 percent supported the amnesty, and 36 percent objected. The others were undecided," Titov said. He explained the results by Russians' unequivocal attitude toward entrepreneurs.
Titov stressed that in 2012, more than 155,000 cases were opened under penal code articles on economic crimes, and that only 35,000 cases were sent to courts.
Russian public and economic organizations hailed the measure. The resolution "is very important to Russia because not only the number of persons to be set free early has significance, but the very beginning of this strategy of interaction between business and government," vice president of the center for strategic communications Dmitry Abzalov noted.
Deputy dean of the applied political science department, National Research University - Higher School of Economics, Leonid Polyakov underlined that the resolution on amnestying business was something which had long been expected and which largely indicated a change in the attitude to business."