Economic amnesty goes into effect today in Russia
The amnesty, which is due to take place during the next six months, will pardon first-time offenders convicted under financial laws and will only apply to convicted persons who compensate those who suffered financial losses as a result of their crime, and whose crimes did not involve the use of violence.
Deciding to hold an amnesty is the exclusive competence of Russia’s State Duma and the document does not need the approval of the upper house of parliament, the Federation Council, or the signature of the Russian president.
Russia’s business ombudsman Boris Titov, who had earlier proposed the amnesty, said on Wednesday that it would cover about 100,000 people, including 13,500 people serving prison sentences and some “70,000-80,000 people who received suspended sentences or were given fines and other penalties not related to the deprivation of freedom.”
The Duma’s move came just 10 days after President Vladimir Putin called for first-time white-collar criminals to be pardoned before the legislature goes on summer vacation on July 14.
It was not clear from Putin’s statements whether the amnesty would apply to Khodorkovsky and allow him to walk free, or whether it could also apply to corruption whistleblower Alexei Navalny, who is currently being tried on first-time embezzlement charges connected to the Kirovles company and faces up to 10 years in prison.
In comments to The Moscow News on June 21, Titov called the bill a compromise between what his office had suggested initially and recommendations from the president, but welcomed the support.
Asked whether the amnesty could be applied to Navalny and Khodorkovsky, Titov said he was not ready to comment on specific cases.
The Russian Parliament’s lower house, the State Duma, is due to consider the President-submitted bill on amnesty for economic crimes during a full-scale meeting on Tuesday, July 2nd .
The decision was made earlier today by the Council of the lower house, the Duma deputy speaker for the Liberal Democratic Party, Igor Lebedev, has told the ITAR-TASS news agency.
The State Duma Committee for Civil, Criminal, Arbitration and Procedure Legislation will meet on July 2 to dicuss a draft resolution on economic amnesty, submitted to the State Duma.
"The Committee meeting has been set for July 2, " a representative of the Committee siad.
Draft economic amnesty resolution would free convicted businessmen without previous criminal record and would stop prosecution of such businessmen, stated the Kremlin's officila website. The mandatory condition of amnesty is the return of property or compensation for losses bu suspects and defendants. The amnesty would not apply to offenders who cimmuted violence of threatened to use force.
"It is planned to complete the fulfillment of the State Duma resolution on the economic amnesty within six months since it enters into force," says the explanatory note attached to the draft State Duma resolution on the economic amnesty and regulations for its implementation.
The draft resolution would give freedom to persons with no previous convictions, or sentenced for the first time on charges of committing economic crimes, says an explanatory note to the State Duma draft resolution on the declaration of amnesty, submitted to the lower house on Tuesday.
Criminal cases must be stopped against such persons. "The amnesty should apply to those who have committed violence, or threatened to use violence," the note says.
It also says that the amnesty will be enforced on "one mandatory condition - the suspects and the accused must return the misappropriated property and repay the losses to the victims," the explanatory note says. This condition would apply to persons whose criminal cases are being heard in courts, or are under preliminary investigation, and also persons whose verdicts have been enforced, it says.
"The amnesty would apply not only to convicted persons, but also to those whose have not been sentenced to prison confinement, who have received suspended sentences, whose sentences have been postponed, or who have been released on parole," the explanatory note says. The draft has "an exhaustive list" of offences to which amnesty could be applied.
The economic amnesty will be in effect for six months since the moment it is announced.
The explanations were posted on the Kremlin website.
A draft resolution on the declaration of amnesty has been submitted to the State Duma and it will be debated next week."Draft resolutions on the declaration of amnesty and on the amnesty's enforcement procedures have been submitted to the lower house," State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin's spokeswoman Yevgenia Chugunova told the media.
Speaker Sergei Naryshkin has referred both drafts to the chairman of the State Duma's Committee for Civil, Criminal, Arbitration and Procedure Legislation, Pavel Krasheninnikov, and to all factions and the Duma Council, she said.
"The drafts will be debated next week," Naryshkin announced The next week is the last plenary week of the spring session. It will have three plenary meetings on July 2, 3 and 5.
Putin has approved the draft resolution on amnesty for entrepreneurs and recommends that the State Duma should adopt it until the summer holidays.
"I expect that this will be done in a short time – until the summer vacations /July 5/", - Russian President Vladimir Putinstated while speaking at a plenary session of SPIEF.
According to him, the amnesty will be applied to those, who committed crimes in the sphere of entrepreneurial activity, but were convicted for the first time; who has already compensated or agrees to compensate the damagescaused to the victims.
"The conviction will be withdrawnfrom these citizens", the Presidentsaid.
"The decision about the economic amnesty is not only restoring justice. This decision is a signal to our regulatory and oversight 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 statepointed out.
Voice of Russia, Interfax,