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Public Prosecutors Will Learn To Protect Business


The Prosecutor General’s Office has written a guidance manual on protecting entrepreneurs’ rights. The manual, published on their site, is called “Oversight by the Office of the Prosecutor General of Compliance with Legislation on Protection of Entrepreneurial Activity” (document available in Russian only here)  The document describes, in detail, who prosecutors should be monitoring, how exactly they should be doing it, and what regulatory measures they should apply.

The authors of the manual were employees of the Research Institute of the Academy of the Office of the Prosecutor General and Alexander Palamarchuk, Head of the Oversight Board for Implementing Federal Legislation of the Prosecutor General’s Office.

Business mainly needs protection in the areas of state inspections and oversight, state procurement, and registration/licensing procedures. A separate division is devoted to measures on countering corruption since “the level of corruption within government bodies and among civil servants is intolerably high.” The authors of the manual say that corruption is often connected with violations of entrepreneurs' rights. The list of such violations takes up an entire page, and includes items such as unfounded grants of immunity, officials making up their own additional requirements to various official processes, and “flagrant abuse of power” when conducting checks. The authors of the manual report that authorities in one region even attempted to "stimulate activity" within its oversight bodies by allowing them to spend on employee bonuses up to 50 percent of above-target fines collected for administrative violations.

Prosecutors are advised to carefully familiarize study not only with the normative documents issued by officials, but also how well those documents fit within the limitations placed on government bodies.  At the same time it is necessary to note weather officials report income and whether they check this information, whether they are involved in entrepreneurial activity, and whether they go on business trips and vacations at the expense of commercial organizations.

The authors of the manual on protecting entrepreneurs’ rights explain the ineffectiveness of anticorruption measures by the absence of an informational base that systematically evaluates the activity of state officials, as well as by the absence of practical support for public prosecutor audits. The quality of work has gotten worse, and after the prosecutorial reforms of 2007, employees of the Prosecutor General’s Office lost the right to give mandatory instructions to special investigative bodies. The authors of the manual believe this right should be restored.

One thousand copies of the manual were published. The Prosecutor-General’s Office says this legal document is of an advisory nature, but as one of the authors is the Head of the Oversight Board, the manual will be perceived to be a set of guidelines.

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