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    RUSSIAN POPULAR COUNCIL ADOPTS BUSINESS ETHICS CODE

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    MOSCOW, FEBRUARY 4, 2004 (from RIA Novosti's Olga Lipich) - The 8TH World Russian Popular Council has adopted a code of business ethics. Based on the Ten Commandments, the code describes a perfect model of ethical entrepreneurship, something for the business community to live up to.

    While trying to gain his daily bread, one must not forget about the spiritual meaning of life. While working toward his personal prosperity, one must also promote the wellbeing of his neighbor and his community, reads the code's introductory article.

    The document calls for the creation of an economic system that would make it possible for the Russian people to satisfy both their spiritual and material needs. Material wealth cannot be an end in itself. Rather, it should be seen as a means to help one lead a meaningful life. Poverty is a trial, and the needy should work their way out of misery.

    In the pre-Bolshevik Russia, entrepreneurs followed the principle, "Profit is above all else, but integrity is above profit." The ethics code calls on modern-day fellow businessmen to act accordingly, urging the government to make sure they do not engage in dishonorable practices.

    It also emphasizes the inadmissibility of coercing people into taking jobs that are potentially dangerous to their life and health.

    The government, the business community, and the general public should join efforts to create decent working conditions for those employed and to provide welfare for those unable to earn themselves a living. Tax evasion is tantamount to theft, as it deprives the orphaned, the elderly, the handicapped, and other socially disadvantaged groups of the basic means of existence. Capital transfer abroad is also about stealing from one's community, the code points out.

    One must not resort to insults or lies against business competitors, nor may he/she exploit basic instincts and vice. It is immoral to envy one's neighbor his/her material wealth and to want to steal it from him/her, the final article says.

    The code has been co-written by Sergei Glazyev, leader of the Duma action Rodina (Homeland); Vsevolod Chaplin, Vice Chair of the Moscow Patriarchy Department of Exterior Church Relations; and experts of the Russian Chamber of Industries and Commerce, amongst others.

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