Vladimir Putin attended the expanded meeting of the Prosecutor General’s Office Board. The President reviewed the office’s performance in 2019 and its objectives for this year.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues,
We are holding this annual expanded meeting of the Prosecutor General’s Office Board to review your performance last year and, as usual, discuss the spheres that need to be given particular attention, including in light of the objectives set out in my Address to the Federal Assembly.
First of all, trivial as it may sound, I would like to say that the bodies of the Prosecutor General’s Office are among the most important and influential parts of the state machinery. The sphere of your operation is extremely broad, and you have great powers as well.
This high status should be fully reflected and sealed in the new wording of the Federal Law On the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation. The office has been working on it since last year. I ask you to carry on and even to accelerate this work.
At the same time, you should work even more efficiently to protect law and order in society as well as the rights and freedoms of our citizens, exposing and cutting short any offences, the number of which, it should be said, remains considerable. This also concerns such a delicate sphere as the social rights of our citizens.
As you may know, the amendments to the Constitution of the Russian Federation, which have been put to a national vote, reinforce and specify our state’s social orientation. This means that your responsibility for compliance with citizens’ social rights will grow as well.
I ask you to immediately respond to any breaches of labour laws, including failure to pay wages and violation of labour protection regulations or rights of preretirement-age persons. We understand what this is related to and how important it is today.
Last year, prosecutors helped to disburse almost 27.5 billion rubles worth of wage arrears. This is an important result. Each proprietor or manager of a business or an organisation must understand that he or she cannot violate the law or solve their own or the company’s problems at the expense of employees; sanctions for these misdeeds will follow inexorably.
Matters related to state support for families with many children or on lower incomes, people with health problems, and old-age pensioners should remain on the special watch list. I mean access to free, hi-tech medical assistance, medicine provision, benefits, and other things of extreme importance for the people.
I have mentioned the upcoming national vote on amendments to the Constitution. The rights of Russian citizens to a free and democratic expression of their will must be secured in full. Your task is to establish close surveillance over the legitimacy of all relevant procedures.
Protecting the rights of minors is among the overriding priorities of the state, including the prosecutor’s offices. Children and teens, especially those left without the care of their families or relatives, as we all know well, are vulnerable and in the zone of risk.
Your task, along with other law enforcement agencies – and their heads are also in this room today, – social services, and public associations, is to ensure their reliable protection from various kinds of unlawful encroachments. In this context, it is necessary to supervise most thoroughly the investigation of crimes committed against children.
I also have to note today that last year the total number of crimes went up nationwide for the first time since 2016. The number of unsolved crimes has also increased. We have discussed this many times, but, unfortunately, the fact remains that every second crime remains unsolved.
You and your colleagues from other law enforcement agencies have a lot to think about here. I assume that statistics have probably improved; all of us realise this. Well, this is good, but I have already discussed this matter at a meeting of the Interior Ministry Board. Even if we look at statistics and make some adjustments, the number of unsolved crimes is higher than the year before. We need an in-depth analysis of problems and specific well-thought-out measures aiming to resolve them.
In the past few years, we have been posting highly negative trends regarding IT crimes. This includes encroachments on the private life of citizens, their property and money in bank accounts.
I ask the Prosecutor General’s Office, the Interior Ministry and other concerned agencies to assess the efficiency of work in this area and see how the available procedural opportunities are being used.
In general, I ask you to draft a system, a complex of measures for reducing the number of such crimes. It goes without saying that IT systems are developing rapidly, and they will continue to develop. They are entering all spheres of economic and private life.
Of course, we should not create any barriers for progress here. This is absolutely obvious, but the interests of society and the state must be reliably protected.
Fighting corruption is a highly relevant and extremely important part of your work, especially ensuring the security of the federal funds allocated for national projects, state and municipal programmes, and state defence order.
Corruption is certainly a problem that needs to be addressed constantly and comprehensively, but today – you understand this very well – what I just said is even more important, because we are investing enormous resources towards resolving major national problems and achieving the national development goals. It is essential to ensure the safety and efficient use of these resources.
I ask the Prosecutor General’s Office to step up its efforts in this area, and also to work more closely with the Federal Bailiff Service, the Interior Ministry, the Federal Service for Financial Monitoring (Rosfinmonitoring), and the tax authorities to retrieve illegally acquired property, or more bluntly – the assets and money stolen from the nation, from our people, from society.
I especially highlight your role in ensuring the competitiveness of our national jurisdiction. I am referring to the business climate, the environment for doing business, for small and medium-sized companies, and the economy as a whole.
In particular, a lot of work needs to be done following the adoption of federal laws forming a new system of control and supervision. You know that the deadline is coming soon, and that it is a very responsible job.
It is necessary to ensure its proper enforcement and harmonisation of the regional and municipal legal framework with the new federal legislation.
I recently spoke in great detail about countering extremism and terrorism at the board meetings of the FSB and the Interior Ministry.
In 2019, the prosecution authorities exposed over 213,000 violations of laws in this area. Decisions were made to declare the activity of four foreign non-governmental organisations undesirable. Based on the prosecution authorities’ evidence, the court recognised three organisations as extremist, and their activity was prohibited.
We need to continue to suppress any actions aimed at destabilising society, violating our traditional spiritual and moral values, and provoking ethnic and religious hatred. It is also necessary to work consistently and carefully monitor all aspects of protection of socially significant facilities and crowded places against terrorism.
Furthermore, the Prosecutor General's Office has recently adopted a course towards toughening the procurator’s supervision over compliance with the law and the rights of convicts in detention facilities. However, practice shows that there are still many violations of these rights. Plenty.
I ask you, in cooperation with the Federal Penitentiary Service, to take comprehensive measures to ensure security of the convicts, prevent infringement of law in correctional system facilities and to more actively cooperate with the Council for Civil Society, human rights commissioners in the Russian regions and representatives of the civil society.
The work of specialised prosecutor’s offices requires a more systematic approach.
The Transport Prosecutor's Office should toughen overseeing the implementation of the programmes on developing infrastructure and ensuring security of traffic on the roads and other transport.
Likewise, the Environmental Prosecutor's Office should step up its efforts to reveal crimes to do with nature, illegal forest devastation and extraction of bio resources. This is a very important area, extremely important.
Regrettably, for the time being, all of us – I am referring to the Prosecutor’s Office and other law enforcement agencies – have failed to reach the desired effect.
The Main Military Prosecutor's Office should be tough in revealing crimes in construction, reconstruction and overhaul of defence and other special facilities and timely react to the violations of the rights of service personnel and members of their families.
And, of course, all prosecutors should constantly be upgrading their professional skills. This largely applies to competent defence of the rights and interests of people, and qualified support for the prosecution on behalf of the state in courts, especially courts with the participation of a jury. The number of jury members has substantially increased over a period of the past few years.
I would like to note the systematic work of the prosecution bodies on introducing digital technology. I consider this area very important.
It is necessary to continue expanding this work and finish in the near future the formation of the agency’s modern information infrastructure, thereby enhancing the efficiency of oversight measures and the activities of the prosecution authorities as a whole.
It is very important to develop convenient, accessible feedback instruments, including prompt response to the complaints of people, specific questions and appeals related to the violation of their labour and social rights and entrepreneurial freedoms.
Colleagues, in conclusion, I would like to thank the entire staff of the prosecution corps for their conscientious attitude to work and loyalty to the best traditions of serving law, the society and the state.
Taking advantage of this opportunity, I would like to thank once again Yury Chaika for his effective work as Russia’s Prosecutor General for so many years, and wish every success to Igor Krasnov and all the employees of the prosecution authorities.