President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Good afternoon.
Yury Yakovlevich [Chaika], you are directly involved in preparing the big national corruption prevention programme. I have several questions for you in this respect. First, you know that we have various situations as far as work on statutes and laws in the various regions go. There are problems at both federal and regional level. I am referring to the corruption potential that often finds its way into legal provisions. Sometimes this is done quite deliberately with a view to putting loopholes and problem areas in these provisions to subsequent profit. Sometimes these problems are simply the result of poor legal skills and shortcomings in legislative work. Whatever the case, laws and statutes, whether at regional or federal level, should conform to the current legislation and be examined to ensure they are not going to create the potential for corruption.
Second, an issue I want to discuss with you separately, following the State Council meeting on small business, I issued a number of instructions, including instructions regarding the powers of the Prosecutor’s Office and its involvement in supervisory activities. Please inform me on what is being done in this respect.
Finally, taking into account the work I have just referred to, the Prosecutor’s Office must be fully armed for carrying out all of its main duties. In this respect, I have signed a decree that will enable the Prosecutor’s Office to exercise its powers as fully as possible, and I wanted to inform you about this.
Prosecutor General Yury Chaika: Thank you, Dmitry Anatolyevich, for your support, for your understanding of the problems facing the Prosecutor’s Office and for putting us in a stronger position to be able to address these important state objectives.
Acting on your decree concerning small and medium business and the instructions you issued at the meeting on preventing corruption, the Prosecutor’s Office has already taken several steps.
First, we have examined the corruption potential of legislation in a number of the country’s regions. This was the first time such work has been carried out. We identified more than 100 laws and statutes that do create the potential for corruption to flourish. <…> At our demand all of these laws and statutes have been brought into line with the current legislation.
I must say that the Prosecutor’s Office began quite effective corruption prevention work around a year ago. Now that the entirely correct decision has been made to strengthen our position we are making a renewed effort. I have met with the leaders of Business Russia [a national entrepreneurs’ non-governmental organisation]. We have also launched a website. On May 29, we started up a new webpage – Supervision by the Prosecutor’s Office of the Rights of Small and Medium Businesses.
Dmitry Medvedev: What does the webpage offer? What opportunities does it give small businesses?
Yury Chaika: We receive between 30 and 40 reports each week about instances of corruption in this or that region.
Dmitry Medvedev: So, people are writing directly to you and telling you about various infringements?
Yury Chaika: They write to us and we send our officials to check. I have also decided to establish public councils attached to the regional Prosecutor’s Offices to protect small and medium business. These councils will soon begin work.
Dmitry Medvedev: We must not forget what I specially pointed out about the situation with inspections. You know that businesses are subjected to numerous inspections. Many of them are unmotivated, or rather, they are motivated by one thing, and that is to get entrepreneurs to cough up money, whether in large or small amounts. I think you must therefore pay attention to this matter and perhaps raise the level at which inspections in a number of cases are authorised. At regional level, say, it could be the regional Prosecutor’s Office that is responsible for authorising inspections, so as to cut short any temptation to manipulate inspections and so that inspections do not come automatically one after the other as is the case today.
Yury Chaika: This is absolutely correct, Dmitry Anatolyevich. I have given an instruction to analyse all inspections carried out by the inspecting authorities over the last three years. We will analyse how many inspections were made and in what areas, and we will then take measures based on this analysis. The most important thing is that, following on your decree, we will soon issue an order on our cooperation with small and medium business and on bolstering the Prosecutor’s Office’s supervision in this area of work.
Dmitry Medvedev: Good. Keeping in mind all I said, I ask you to continue work in this direction.