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Yuri Gulyagin: Principles, from which we do not intend to retreat
Deputy Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation Yuri Gulyagin talked about how they are fighting crime in the Far East and why the increase in the number of recorded crimes sometimes only indicates the quality of the work of prosecutors
- Yuri Alexandrovich, 2015 was a difficult year for the whole country. How strong is the economic crisis affecting the situation in the Far Eastern Federal District? Do the statistics show an increase in the number of crimes?
- Everything is learned in comparison, statistics too. According to her data, in 2014, there was a decrease in overall crime in the district, and in the first half of the year that passed, this trend continued. And yet, at the end of the year, we consider the number of registered criminal offenses in the Far Eastern Federal District to be high - 134. It should be taken into account that, on average, the crime rate in Russia increased by 418 percent, that is, almost three times more than in the Far East. What does this indicate? Let's figure it out.
In our opinion, the increase in crime (in absolute terms - by 4 acts) is due to a number of reasons. It sounds paradoxical, but among them is the more painstaking daily work of law enforcement agencies. To explain in simple words, the point is not only that “crime has grown”, but that we were more often able to identify and cross illegal acts in the economic sphere, attempts at corruption, etc.
A quarter of all identified crimes of an economic nature are in Primorye, followed by the Khabarovsk Territory and the Sakhalin Region. The reasons are well known and traditional: the imperfection of sectoral legislation, insufficient funding of the proclaimed programs, including those for the prevention of crimes, irresponsibility, and sometimes corruption of employees of regulatory bodies.
In recent years, crimes against property have remained the most common criminal offenses, accounting for more than half of all registered criminals. In 2015, about 55,5 thousand thefts, about 8,8 thousand frauds, etc. were committed in the district.
Again the paradox: progress is good, but sometimes people become victims of high technologies. The growth of so-called "telephone fraud" has been recorded, when criminals abuse the trust of citizens and steal funds via the Internet, from bank cards, using payment services and remote banking systems. Why are the criminals so bold? One of the reasons is that the main principle is violated - the inevitability of punishment for what you have done. Despite all the efforts of the law enforcement agencies, every third of these crimes has not been solved. Tens of thousands of "electronic" criminals were able to evade responsibility.
As for the crisis in the economy - of course, negative economic processes lead to an increase in crime. And vice versa. In 2014, we analyzed the main trends in this area in the district for 7-year-old period. It became clear that the main prerequisites for reducing the growth of crime (in particular, reducing the number of thefts) were the decrease in unemployment and the increase in the well-being of people.
We are also worried about the growth of repeated crime. Therefore, the main task of prosecutors is to effectively coordinate the work of law enforcement agencies, with an emphasis on crime prevention and operational counteraction.
But, although the crime situation in the district remains difficult, over the past year the number of especially grave and grave crimes has slightly decreased. Their share in the overall structure of crime has also decreased in comparison with previous years. In the Far Eastern Federal District, the number of murders (from 958 to 889), intentional infliction of grievous bodily harm (from 2 to 569) has decreased. Unfortunately, more often we record crimes related to rape and attempted rape. Yes, the growth seems to be not too big (less than 2%). But we are worried by the very fact that the number of such crimes does not decrease from year to year.
- Does the Far Eastern crime have any "special features" and "regional specificity"?
- Our region is inseparable from Russia, which means that the trends are the same, but the Far East is one of the richest regions of the country. The catch of our fishermen is 70 percent of the national total. A quarter of the country's timber reserves are concentrated in the forests of the region. The Okrug occupies one of the first places in Russia in terms of mineral deposits and their production. In our depths there are over 80 percent of diamonds, about 40 percent of gold, a lot of oil and polymetals. These are our “regional features”.
Over the past three years alone, more than 200 thousand crimes in the economic sphere have been identified, and almost eight hundred criminal cases have been initiated based on the materials of prosecutorial inspections. In the fishing and forestry industries, about three to six thousand offenses are revealed annually, respectively. It is clear that the protection of natural resources and their rational use are impossible without the joint work of law enforcement, supervisory and regulatory bodies. On September 18, 2015, the problems of legality in the field of extraction and circulation of aquatic biological resources were considered at an interdepartmental operational meeting of law enforcement and regulatory bodies. The conversation was tough. I had to admit that clearly not enough is being done to identify and stop all violations. The overwhelming majority of them are acts provided for by Article 256 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (illegal extraction (fishing) of aquatic biological resources), according to which individuals are subject to criminal prosecution. That is, we still somehow catch individual criminals, and there are very few cases when a large “fish” (that is, organized criminal groups) gets into our “nets”.
Here is a graphic illustration of my words. Poaching of seafood in the exclusive economic zone of the Russian Federation remains one of the most serious problems of the fishing industry in the Far East. The harm that these crimes cause to the state is enormous. However, in 2014 only 5 crimes were registered under Art. 253 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, in the 1st half of 2015 - one. The same applies to the illegal export of biological resources: in 2014, 5 acts under Art. 226.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, this year - only 1. Out of sight of the law enforcement agencies of the district in the current year are the facts of the acquisition and sale of aquatic biological resources, which are deliberately obtained by criminal means. In 2014, their registration decreased by 38% and amounted to 13 criminal episodes. In the 1st half of 2015, no crimes of this category were detected. But this does not mean at all that no one committed them.
Insufficient attention is paid to combating organized crime in the field of illegal extraction and circulation of aquatic biological resources, as well as their processing products. So, in 2014, law enforcement agencies were involved in criminal cases on 10 crimes (in 2013 - about 20) committed by organized groups or criminal communities, this year such cases were not investigated (for 6 months of 2014 - one) ...
There are also questions for the preliminary investigation. The competent authorities were far from always able to initiate a legitimate investigation of the reports received, even if they contained sufficiently convincing data on the signs of crime. And more than 80% of already initiated criminal cases are suspended, since the perpetrators "have not been identified." This speaks primarily of the ineffectiveness of the actions of law enforcement agencies.
The problem of compensation for damage caused by criminals to the aquatic biological resources of the Far East is still acute. In 2014, its size was about 540 million rubles, in the first half of 1 - 2015 million rubles. The greatest damage was recorded in the Kamchatka Territory, Sakhalin Region, Primorsky and Khabarovsk Territories. However, collect in 2014-15 year managed no more than 9% (this is the average figure for the district).
- And what or who interferes with the rule of law in these cases?
- There are many reasons that do not make it possible to fully compensate for the damage caused to aquatic biological resources. During the investigation and inquest, law enforcement agencies are late with interim measures, and the perpetrators of crimes do not have permanent earnings, money or property (what will you collect from them in this case and how will you pay off the amount of damage?). There are serious shortcomings in the work of the territorial bodies of the Federal Property Management Agency, which are obliged to control the storage and sale of seized, arrested and confiscated biological resources, as well as poaching vessels and other fishing gear turned into federal property. The existing practice does not allow efficient use of budgetary funds: the costs of long-term storage of such vessels exceed both their market value and the amount of damage caused by poachers. This was also discussed at the meeting mentioned above. We have developed a program of coordination measures and are monitoring their implementation.
- The favorite pastime of officials in Russia has been known since the time of the classic of Russian literature: “they steal ...” How to deal with this tradition and what are the “features of national corruption” in the Far East?
- Corruption is terrible precisely because it not only violates the rights and legitimate interests of citizens, undermines in their eyes the authority of public authorities as such, but also interferes with the normal course of economic processes. People lose confidence that the law is able to protect them, they acquire "legal nihilism." This hinders the solution of the most important economic and political problems.
The corrupt officials we are identifying in the Far Eastern District have come up with nothing particularly new. They are still enriched by their high position. Malpractice, bribery, commercial bribery occur in a wide variety of areas - in state and local government bodies, in healthcare and education, and in business structures. Therefore, for the prosecution authorities, combating corruption remains a priority in their work. And we are really more likely now to "grab the hand" of extortionists and unscrupulous businessmen.
Here are just some of the numbers. In 2015, the number of registered corruption-related crimes increased from 1188 to 1242. The law enforcement agencies of the Far Eastern Federal District stepped up their work to identify and suppress the facts of bribery. The effectiveness of combating crimes related to abuse of office has increased. The effectiveness of prosecutorial supervision over the investigation of corruption-related criminal cases has increased. In order to eliminate violations of federal legislation, 16 percent more demands and protests were sent. The heads of the investigation bodies satisfied 96% of the acts of response. The number of materials sent by prosecutors to investigative bodies to resolve the issue of criminal prosecution increased by 11%. Based on the results of procedural checks on 152 materials, criminal cases of corruption were initiated. 696 criminal cases were sent to the court. 650 criminal cases were considered with a conviction, including 100 criminal cases involving confiscation of property. According to the results of the judicial investigation, 57 law enforcement officers, as well as 43 officials of state and local government bodies were convicted.
If we compare the data of 2015 with the previous one, then the increase in the number of detected violations was 11 percent. The reason is again that the prosecutor's office has become more active.
- But what about crime prevention and is it even possible in “bureaucratic” affairs?
- Certainly. As before, when conducting inspections, prosecutors pay special attention to compliance with the prohibitions and restrictions established by federal legislation when entering the civil service and in the process of passing it.
In addition, many dishonest officials learn well from other people's experience. And he is quite eloquent. Last year, we had to react more than once to the facts of violations of the law in connection with a conflict of interest in the state and municipal service, improper performance by employees of the anti-corruption duty when owning securities, shares, shares in the authorized capital of organizations. In state and local government bodies, we have identified cases of non-compliance with the law when recruiting. In the Primorsky Territory, the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), the Sakhalin and Magadan Regions, as a result of the intervention of prosecutors due to the loss of confidence, service contracts with individual state and municipal employees were terminated.
The corrupt officials had to answer for the damage done to the state. Thus, 17 legal entities were brought to administrative responsibility under Article 19.28 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation (illegal remuneration on behalf of a legal entity) and were fined in the total amount of over 11,8 million rubles. Employees of these organizations “bribed auditors” - they gave them money for drawing up positive acts of inspections. With the help of the prosecutor's influence, it was possible to turn into state revenue the property that was acquired with illegal and unconfirmed funds.
Violations of the law were also revealed when spending municipal and regional budgets. For example, in the Kamchatka Territory, based on the results of the prosecutor's check, a criminal case was initiated under Article 286 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation against the former head of the OFAS for the region, who illegally transferred budget funds to an affiliated commercial organization, knowing that this contractor did not fulfill the conditions of the state contract. Despite the fact that the criminal case was terminated under an amnesty, at the suit of the prosecutor, over 7 million rubles were recovered from the guilty person as compensation for damage to the state. In the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), also on the initiative of the prosecutor, a criminal case was initiated against the head of the municipal formation of the Ust-Kuyga settlement. He demanded 3-millionth a bribe for his signature under the acts of the actual supply of utilities, as well as on fictitious documents, by prior conspiracy with accomplices, he stole more than 650 thousand budget funds for repairs carried out purely on paper. The Ust-Yansky District Court found him guilty on all counts of charges and sent him to a strict regime penal colony for 9 years with a fine of seventy times the amount of a bribe - 210 million rubles.
- The task of the prosecutor's office is not only to accuse, but also to protect, especially ordinary citizens. With what complaints did they most often turn to you last year, what did you manage to do according to their statements?
- Yes, the prosecutor's office is called upon not only to "consider appeals", but also to ensure that other authorities react to citizens' requests in strict accordance with the Constitution and other laws of the country. None of the reports received from citizens about the violation of their rights remains without a proper response. Last year, the prosecutor's office in the Far Eastern District revealed over 218 thousand violations in the field of human rights and freedoms. To eliminate them, more than 30 thousand submissions were made, more than 15 thousand illegal legal acts were protested, almost 56 thousand lawsuits were filed, 3744 people received warnings about the inadmissibility of violations of the law. On the initiative of prosecutors, 20437 guilty officials were brought to disciplinary responsibility, 11920 persons were brought to administrative responsibility, 25 of whom were disqualified. About 600 criminal cases were initiated.
At the same time, the number of citizens' appeals to the prosecutor's office annually remains significant. In 2015 alone, the prosecutor's office of the Far Eastern Federal District received over 222 thousand appeals. Nearly 55700 citizens attended a personal reception with prosecutors. Most of the complaints were related to violation of labor and housing legislation, as well as to the housing and utilities sector. To restore the violated rights of citizens, prosecutors challenged more than 770 illegal legal acts, more than 11300 submissions were submitted, more than 22 thousand claims were brought to court, more than 209 officials were warned about the inadmissibility of violations, more than 3200 cases of administrative offenses were initiated.
For example, LLC “Zheldorekspeditsiya-27” in the Khabarovsk Territory, despite all the measures we have taken, continued to violate the rights of workers to pay. Debts exceeded 3 million rubles. Taking into account the repeated appeals of the employees of this enterprise to the prosecutor's office, according to my decrees, this legal entity and its head were brought to administrative responsibility under Part 4 of Article 5.27 of the Administrative Offenses Code of the Russian Federation for violation of labor legislation and other regulatory legal acts containing labor law norms. Only after that the debt was fully paid off.
In our work, we widely use various forms of interaction with the population - including “hot lines” or visiting receptions of the population in the constituent entities of the Okrug. This allows citizens to receive free legal assistance, and for us - to assess the situation with the rule of law and order. Thus, in 2015, the staff of the department were able to conduct a personal reception of more than 460 applicants. I myself received 280 citizens. They were concerned with the most different questions. For example, residents of Vladivostok contacted me - participants in the shared construction of an apartment building number 10 on the street. Dismissing with a complaint about the unreasonable refusal of the city administration to issue the developer a permit to commission the specified object. As a result of the audit, it was established that the refusal was due to the fact that the developer did not provide separate documents, which, according to the Town Planning Code of the Russian Federation, are not mandatory and are not. On the proposal of the prosecutor's office, permission to put the facility into operation was issued, and the guilty administration official was brought to disciplinary responsibility. So if we talk about the "demand" for the prosecutor's office - here's living proof.
- You touched upon the topic of wage arrears. Judging by the statistics, they are growing in the Far East. How serious do you think the situation is, does the prosecutor's supervision monitor the issues of payment of arrears and the fate of the laid off workers?
- Prosecutors have special levers of influence on negligent leaders - from judicial protection of employees to the criminal liability of those guilty of salary delays. Here are some final numbers. In 2015, prosecutors revealed over 65 thousand violations related to late payment of wages. It was not only about the debts themselves, but also about illegal legal acts and illegal actions of employers. To restore the rights of workers, prosecutors brought nearly 1300 protests against illegal legal acts, made more than 3400 submissions, and initiated 34 criminal cases. On the initiative of prosecutors, 1875 persons were brought to disciplinary responsibility, and 1955 to administrative responsibility. At the same time, I note that in the past year, 4 times more officials were brought against for repeated violations of the law than in 2014. 407 warnings about the inadmissibility of violations of the law were announced. At the initiative of prosecutors, the courts disqualified 22 heads of debtor enterprises: 6 of them in the Jewish Autonomous Region, 5 in the Sakhalin Region, 3 in the Primorsky Territory, 2 each in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), Amur and Magadan Regions, 1 each in the Kamchatka and Khabarovsk regions. As a result, the Far Eastern Federal District has paid off wage arrears of more than 3,4 billion rubles. In addition, measures were taken to strengthen supervision in the field of employment and protect citizens from unemployment.
In 2015, more than 1,5 thousand violations of the law were revealed in the field of employment. To eliminate them, 42 legal acts were contested. 780 submissions were brought in, 464 persons were brought to disciplinary responsibility, 164 to administrative responsibility, 53 officials were warned about inadmissible violations of the law, 8 criminal cases were initiated on the initiative of prosecutors.
For example, in the Primorsky Territory, when checking information published in the media, facts of unjustified termination of employment contracts at Pacific Bridge-Building Company CJSC at the initiative of the employer in connection with the reduction of the number of employees were revealed. On the submission of the first deputy prosecutor of the region, the illegal orders were canceled.
Prosecutors regularly analyze the work of employment services - including ensuring that employers provide employees with all guarantees and compensations stipulated by law, pay wages in full and on time, and that the authorities promptly adopted regulations governing employment issues and spend budget funds strictly by appointment.
The closest attention is paid to organizations where employees are laid off due to the liquidation or reduction of staff. Practice shows that, at the same time, violations of the rights of employees are widespread - the procedures for dismissal are not followed, information about redundant workers and open vacancies is received by the employment authorities out of time or is completely absent. In the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) and the Khabarovsk Territory, prosecutors revealed facts of illegal use of budget funds allocated for programs to promote employment of citizens.
- There is another side of the issue of control and accounting. How often do you have to protect representatives of small and medium-sized businesses from unreasonable inspections by numerous government agencies?
- Often enough. We annually evaluate the draft plans of control bodies of district and interregional significance and draw conclusions about whether certain scheduled inspections are legal. In 2015 alone, the department considered about 4,3 thousand verification measures submitted by state control (supervision) authorities for inclusion in the consolidated plan for scheduled inspections of legal entities and individual entrepreneurs for 2016. As a result, we identified violations of the Federal Law "On the Protection of the Rights of Legal Entities and Individual Entrepreneurs in the Exercise of State Control (Supervision) and Municipal Control", in connection with which we rejected 1387 inspections. In 2015, they have already become almost 2 times less (753).
We found out that the regulatory authorities include in their plans the inspection of legal entities or individual entrepreneurs that ceased their activities back in 2005-14, trying to come to entrepreneurs before the expiration of three years from the date of the end of the last scheduled inspection. In this regard, I made submissions to the heads of eight control bodies who violated the law. 36 guilty officials were brought to justice.
The department also carries out other work to oversee the implementation of legislation in the field of protecting the rights of entrepreneurs. We regularly check the implementation by the district (interregional) bodies of state control (supervision) of legislation on the protection of the rights of legal entities and individual entrepreneurs in the implementation of state control (supervision) during scheduled inspections. As a result of the measures taken by the department in 2015. revealed 240 violations of legislation in this area. To eliminate them, 3 protests were brought against the illegal orders of the heads of the control bodies (the orders were canceled), 30 submissions were made, as a result of their consideration, 74 officials were brought to disciplinary responsibility.
Supervisory practice in the field of protecting the rights of entrepreneurs shows that there are still many problems in this area. Therefore, in pursuance of the decision of the All-Russian meeting of prosecutors of constituent entities of the Russian Federation, an interdepartmental working group for the protection of the rights of entrepreneurs has been created and is operating in the directorate of the General Prosecutor's Office of the Russian Federation in the Far Eastern Federal District. At its meetings, business representatives talk about the problems that hinder their activities. The subject of the conversation is the topical issues of eliminating redundant and duplicating functions of control and supervisory bodies. Prosecutors intend to make every effort for this.
- Will the prosecution authorities take into account in their work such an innovation as the introduction of the TOR regime in the Far Eastern territories?
- Naturally, they will. Moreover, the volume of this work is very significant. In 2015, nine territories of advanced socio-economic development were created in the Far Eastern Federal District (in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), Khabarovsk, Primorsky and Kamchatka Territories, Amur Region, Chukotka Autonomous District). On December 25, 2015, at a meeting of the Subcommittee on the Implementation of Investment Projects in the Far East, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation - Plenipotentiary Representative of the President of the Russian Federation in the Okrug Yuri Petrovich Trutnev, two more new priority development areas were approved - Yuzhnaya and Mountain Air on Sakhalin ... In the future, PSEDAs will be created in all regions of the Far Eastern Federal District. The Far East Development Corporation management company has concluded 21 agreements with residents operating in such territories.
The office of the Prosecutor General's Office of the Russian Federation in the district is entrusted with the authority to organize and control the work of the prosecutor's offices of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation in the district to supervise the implementation of laws in the territories of priority socio-economic development in the Russian Federation. By my order, an interdepartmental working group has been formed in the district. One of its tasks is to organize interdepartmental interaction of government bodies, law enforcement and regulatory bodies in order to ensure the rule of law and law and order in the creation and operation of territories of advanced socio-economic development.
The group includes employees of the prosecutor's office, the Chairman of the Government of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), as well as deputy governors of other constituent entities of the Federation in charge of the activities of PSEDAs, heads of regulatory and law enforcement agencies. The issue of creating another interdepartmental working group is being worked out - the General Prosecutor's Office of the Russian Federation and the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East. We have already had time to discuss topical issues and hold working meetings with representatives of the Ministry and the Corporation for the Development of the Far East.
The task of the prosecutors, which they have already begun, is to ensure the legality of the normative regulation of all issues related to PSEDAs, as well as the agreements concluded. Significant budget funds have been allocated for the creation of infrastructure facilities for TASED. Naturally, the prosecutor's office will monitor their intended use and ensure that residents strictly comply with the terms of the agreements. This, by the way, was discussed in April last year at a joint meeting of the collegiums of the Prosecutor General's Office of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of the Russian Federation for the Development of the Far East. In 2016, we plan to pay special attention to such issues as proper regulation in establishing tax preferences and simplified administrative regimes for their residents, targeted spending of budgetary funds aimed at financing the construction of infrastructure facilities for PSEDA.
- What else, in your opinion, should the Far Eastern prosecutor's office now pay especially close attention to?
- The Russian prosecutor's office is one of the most important institutions of the state. Therefore, it must respond promptly and promptly to everything that happens in the country. The past year has clearly shown that this has been successful. It was the prosecution authorities that turned out to be in maximum demand and played a decisive role in order for the law to prevail in the socio-economic sphere.
There are basic tasks in the activities of the department that I oversee. This is, first of all, the protection of the foundations of the constitutional system, ensuring the legality of regulatory legal acts, the rights and freedoms of citizens, individual entrepreneurs, increasing the effectiveness of the fight against crime, organizing and monitoring the activities of prosecutors of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation in the district within the limits of the powers granted.
To achieve these goals requires the interaction of law enforcement and regulatory authorities. We were able to make it more effective by optimizing our work, more active work in the most difficult areas. I understand that 2016 will not be an easy year for us. There are areas that we will have to pay special attention to. For example, the amount of arrears in the payment of contributions to compulsory social insurance increases. It is clear that the issues of protecting the social rights of citizens come to the fore.
Another sore point is housing. By the end of 2015, the number of apartment buildings that were not put into operation on time had increased by 2,5 times. One can speak directly about the lack of control on the part of the relevant authorities in the district over the activities of developer organizations, which often inappropriately use funds of citizens participating in shared construction. This dictates the need for additional measures to ensure the rule of law in the housing and utilities sector.
In economic matters, the main thing for us remains, as I have already said, to ensure the rule of law in the creation and functioning of territories of advanced social and economic development. We will also continue the fight against crime in the main sectors of the economy (for the Far East, this is primarily the extraction and circulation of biological resources, woodworking, etc.)
And, of course, we are part of the overall system of oversight activities in the field of countering extremism and terrorism. Prosecutors of all constituent entities of the Russian Federation are doing everything possible to prevent the expansion of radical ideology (including through the Internet), to prevent ethnic hatred from flaring up.
In addition, in September elections of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation of the VII convocation will take place. In most of the constituent entities of the district, election campaigns of local self-government bodies will take place simultaneously. During such a period, issues of compliance with electoral legislation are more relevant than ever, and prosecutors will probably have a lot of work.
I am confident that we will be able to fulfill our main task - to strengthen law and order. This is facilitated by the active position of the prosecutor's office and systemic supervision over the implementation of legislation - principles from which we are not going to deviate.