President Vladimir Putin: The Prosecutor General’s Office has many areas of work and one of the key areas is to coordinate the law enforcement agencies in the fight against crime. The situation in this area is, unfortunately, still far from good. The number of particularly serious crimes increased in 2005. What is more, every second serious crime remains unsolved. According to some estimates, last year alone more than five thousand people who committed murder were not brought to justice.
The law enforcement agencies fail to elucidate the fate of the more than 70,000 people – a terrible figure to even name – who disappear every year. This is an indirect sign of the high level of latent crime, including serious crime, in our society.
Such shameful phenomena as upsurges of crime motivated by xenophobia and ethnic and racial intolerance arouse just indignation among the public.
It is our duty to reduce the crime level.
Turning to another serious issue: we still find ourselves confronting the genuinely mediaeval crimes of kidnapping and human trafficking. This problem is particularly acute in Chechnya and a number of other regions in the North Caucasus.
I call on the Prosecutor General’s Office to work specifically on this issue. I know that you are working on this, but I ask you to give it more attention and examine in detail each specific case, each appeal or complaint. The criminals must be punished. And, as I have said on many past occasions, they must be punished no matter what their guiding motives and no matter what position they hold.
It has been said before that effective work to guarantee citizens’ safety, to fight corruption and restore the public’s confidence in the law being upheld is a key condition for the social and economic development of our country.
I would like to come back to the North Caucasus. This region receives large-scale federal aid. Targeted programmes are being carried out in this region to develop infrastructure, create new jobs and establish conditions for small business development. We need to reliably protect this constructive work from all manner of criminals and every kind of corruption.
You need to be able to not only identify cases where the laws have been violated but also try to identify the trends, forecast developments and take advance action on order to prevent any negative consequences for the country, its economy and social sphere.
The practice of criminal bankruptcies has become a factor seriously destabilising the business environment and investment climate in general. Of course, the Prosecutor’s Office and the other law enforcement agencies should not intervene in civil law disputes between companies. Such disputes should be resolved in the courts through open proceedings.
But honest business practice and property rights must have reliable protection. They must be protected by the law and by clear application and enforcement of the law and court decisions.
I believe the Prosecutor’s Office should react rapidly to cases where business people’s rights are violated, and of course, it must act objectively and without bias.
Furthermore, attempts at getting hold of assets by criminal means should not be allowed to replace honest competition. In this respect there is cause to examine the gaps in the law and consider improving the legislation in this area. This is a problem that not only our country faces, but it is a problem of considerable importance for us.
The problem of protecting intellectual property rights also remains a serious issue for our country. Experts estimate that pirate videos account for almost 70 percent of the video market in our country and pirate software for almost 90 percent of the software market. Almost all software in our country is pirated.
We also have a very negative situation on the pharmaceuticals market. The trade in counterfeit medicines is a real threat to our nation’s health and the distribution of counterfeit products without a doubt discredits Russia as a reliable business partner.
Action is needed to improve the quality of the Prosecutor’s Office’s work in the area of international cooperation. International cooperation has been developing quite well over recent years and the Prosecutor General’s Office has established good contacts with its colleagues in many countries. Procedures for the extradition of criminals and requests for legal assistance within the framework of international agreements demand from us further thorough and flawless work in carrying out the objectives and tasks before us in this area.