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The State Duma declared amnesty for 3,000 convicted businesspeople

July 03, 2013, 11:00 UTC+3

A total of 3,000 people will get under the effect of amnesty

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The State Duma considered the presidential bill on economic amnesty right in three readings on Tuesday. The convicts on 26 economic articles, instead of previously stated 53 articles, will be released from prison soon. A total of 3,000 people will get under the effect of amnesty, though initially it was planned to release over 100,000 people. Meanwhile, the compulsory condition for release will be the indemnification of the losses to the injured parties.

The Moskovsky Komsomolets daily recalled that the economic amnesty was initiated by presidential business rights commissioner Boris Titov. Yet, the amnesty was adopted not from the first attempt. Vladimir Putin stated in Voronezh on May 23 that the project is ‘raw’. As a result of finalizing the number of articles, which got under the effect of the amnesty, was reduced from 52 to 27. Putin already liked the second reading of the amnesty bill, therefore on June 21 the president supported the amnesty at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum. Just 11 days later the deputies have taken the appropriate resolution.

The amnesty will have an effect on the articles over the copyright violations, illegal business activity, money laundering, tax evasion, non-fulfilment of crediting liabilities and others, the RBC daily reported. Fraud is one of the main articles, on which most convicted businesspeople will be set free. Up to 3,000 people can be released from prison under the amnesty bill, presidential representative in the State Duma Garry Minkh said.

But there are two essential conditions for it, the Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily reported. Only those, who are convicted on the articles listed in the amnesty bill for the first time, get under the effect of amnesty. And if for the period of amnesty in effect they will fulfil the obligations to return the property and (or) will indemnify the damages to the injured parties. Meanwhile, the damage should be repaid not only to the state authorities or legal entities, but also ordinary people.

“Certainly, we would like to have a larger number of articles, which could have been included in the amnesty bill, but understanding the president, I believe that this is already a big step forward, because many businesspeople, the rights of which the state officials encroached on and innocently convicted people, will be released from prison,” business rights ombudsman Boris Titov told the Kommersant daily. He took the amnesty as “a signal of the state that it is ready to acknowledge its mistakes of the past few years in terms of a wrong settlement of the relations with the business community.”

“What could have been achieved at the present moment, we achieved, there should not be any special expectations,” Professor of the Higher School of Economics Igor Nikolayev told the Novye Izvestia daily. “The amnesty is a good act, certainly, but it should not be overestimated, this is not a measure, which can reverse the situation in the economy. Now we are sliding down in recession. Along with the amnesty, hundreds of people have to shut down their business over a thoughtless tax policy. The amnesty cannot change the investment climate radically. All fundamental problems remain unsettled: a high tax burden, non-protection of the property rights and so on and so forth. This predetermines whether business activity will intensify or not. The amnesty cannot prevent the economy from sliding down in recession,” he underlined.

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