Taking part in the meeting were Presidential Commissioner for Entrepreneurs’ Rights Boris Titov, President of the Supreme Court Vyacheslav Lebedev, President of the Higher Arbitration Court Anton Ivanov, Prosecutor General Yury Chaika, Aide to the President Elvira Nabiullina, Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev, Chairman of the Investigative Committee Alexander Bastrykin and representatives of the business community.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues,
As you know, we have created the position of an ombudsman who will protect the legitimate rights and interests of the business community. We have long had an official responsible for overseeing human rights in general, but until recently we did not have an office in charge of this special area related to the protection of entrepreneurs’ rights and interests. We have established it at the suggestion of the business community.
I think the reasons for that are obvious. There is a lack of clarity in the current legislation and a shortage of regulations. There are many issues in this area, and all of you are familiar with them, the leaders of business associations and my colleagues, the heads of law enforcement agencies, because it is always a subject of discussion in society: either entrepreneurs are accused of bribing officials, or law enforcement agencies are denounced for various excesses and even corporate raiding, and so on.
A number of decisions have been adopted, for example giving businesses the right to file class action lawsuits. Many resolutions have been adopted recently that, in my opinion, should improve the situation in this area, in this vitally important sphere of our activities. I believe that the introduction of an ombudsman who will be charged with protecting entrepreneurs’ legitimate rights and interests will open a new dimension in this field and you will be able to deal directly with the people who are authorised by the state to resolve these issues.
My only wish is that Mr Titov and his colleagues in the regions, who are also present here today, do not engage in lobbying the interests of business and defending those who have actually breached the law, but that they direct their efforts at restoring entrepreneurs’ rights if such rights are abused. I have no doubt, unfortunately, that there are many cases of this kind and there is much work to do.
What I have absolute confidence in is that the heads of law enforcement and judicial authorities share our aspiration to reduce such cases as far as possible and eventually to eradicate them completely. We are all interested in state agencies’ effective work for the benefit of our cause, because this is a major factor – not the only one but an important factor – of the overall business environment in our country, which is the fundamental condition for attracting investments, both domestic and foreign. Without addressing this issue, we will not be able to successfully develop our economy or achieve the most important indicator – the economic growth rate.
These are the straightforward and at the same time highly important issues we will discuss today.