President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues, Mr Chaika.
Today, at an expanded meeting of the Prosecutor General’s Office Board, we will review the results of 2017 and discuss what needs to be done for the prosecutors and the entire law enforcement system to more successfully ensure the rule of law and efficiently combat crime, lawlessness, corruption and extremism – that is, everything that hinders the steady and dynamic development of the country, limits people’s opportunities to realise their potential and threatens their liberties.
Protection of our citizens’ fundamental rights – primarily, in such sensitive areas as labour and social relations – must certainly be our main focus. You must immediately and within your authority respond to any violations of the law and people’s rights in these areas, including pay arrears.
In cooperation with tax authorities and other agencies, it is your duty to thoroughly assess the actions of the managers who use payroll funds for other purposes, sometimes completely unrelated to the workers’ interests.
Prosecutors must continue to closely monitor the issuance of concessional trip vouchers and the distribution of free medicines thus ensuring people’s rights in these areas.
Today, the government is doing a lot to support families, and protect the rights of children. At the same time, all government bodies are increasingly interacting with civil society structures. I expect that the prosecutor’s office will also be engaged in this work. I would therefore like to ask you to support this work in other areas, to help other state agencies, within your competencies.
As before, special attention should be given to protecting the rights of minors. In 2017, prosecutors exposed 11 percent fewer offences related to the abuse of the rights of minors than in 2016. It is now important to strengthen the supervision of prevention institutions in the constituent regions of the federation.
We have repeatedly raised the matter of providing housing for orphans at our annual board meetings. We must continue to work actively in this area and make sure that local government bodies meet the requirements of the law in a full and timely manner.
I would like to ask you to respond firmly to all facts of overpricing of flats acquired for orphans or trying to get rid of people by giving them unsuitable, bad housing no one needs that is not fit for living.
Another key topic is the situation with housing and utility services pricing on the ground, which is often the result of fraudulent schemes or con groups disguised as building management companies.
If you see that someone artificially hikes prices, I would like to ask you to take prompt and appropriate measures provided by the law. After all, vulnerable groups such as low-income families and pensioners are the first to suffer from unreasonable price hikes, and we are fully aware of this.
It is also necessary to strengthen the supervision over compliance with environmental law. The quality of life of our citizens directly depends on a favourable environmental situation.
Protecting the freedom of enterprise and preventing any attempts to put pressure on business remain the key tasks of prosecutor’s offices. It should be said in this connection that the number of unjustified inspections has decreased thanks to the principled actions of prosecutor’s offices and prosecutors. I would like to say that control and supervision agencies will soon adopt a risk-oriented approach, which is soft on business and can also effectively protect civil and consumer rights.
In addition, we must closely monitor any unjustified interference by law enforcement agencies in economic operation, business conflicts and disputes. Likewise, we must scrutinise situations regarding unsubstantiated or, in plain words, contract criminal persecution of businesses. Those responsible must be held liable.
Colleagues, I am sure that you must be aware of this problem, and it must be dealt with. I want to say that reliable protection of the freedom of enterprise is a key component of economic and national development.
Colleagues, society wants the Prosecutor General’s Office to more efficiently coordinate the law enforcement agencies’ fight against crime and to improve the situation with crime reporting.
Those who ask the law enforcement agencies for protection must be sure that they will receive help in a difficult situation, their rights will be restored and justice will be served. I ask you to tighten control over investigations at all levels.
Keeping legal data also requires a consistent and systemic approach. The success of this work largely depends on the active use of cutting-edge information technology.
I would like to say that we have launched the digitalisation of prosecutor’s offices in 2018. New technology should not just help prosecutors do their job more efficiently, but also create conditions for convenient and transparent interaction with the people. I would like to ask you to continue working towards this goal.
Providing competent prosecution services in court and contributing to establishing the truth is a major part of your work. It is, and has always been, a traditional and one of the most important areas of your work.
In addition to this, you should coordinate more closely your interaction with the law enforcement and regulatory bodies that are responsible for exposing violations at banks and other lending institutions. I would like to ask you to fight money laundering diligently and at the same time to reliably protect the rights of depositors and borrowers.
Today I would like to draw your attention to the need to redouble efforts against corruption. We continue talking about this evil, but regrettably, the matter is still on our agenda.
I would like to ask you to act as resolutely as possible. We will provide the necessary political support for the efforts of the law enforcement, and I am sure that they will also receive consolidated support from Russian citizens.
I would also like to ask you to closely monitor the disposal of budgetary funds at all levels, including during the implementation of the new armaments programme and other major state programmes, as well as during the construction of large infrastructure facilities. I ask you to coordinate your work in this area with the Accounts Chamber and other regulatory bodies.
As usual, you should focus more on combatting extremism. Last year, the number of such crimes increased by nearly 5 percent compared to 2016.
I would like to say that four years ago the Prosecutor General’s Office was given the right to block websites with extremist content. Over that period, more than 3,000 accounts have been blocked at prosecutors’ request, and open calls for extremist actions have been deleted from over 70,000 sites.
We must continue this system-wide work to prevent the proliferation of radical ideologies, which present a serious threat to our society and the country.
And lastly, I would like to ask you to reliably safeguard the constitutional rights of Russian citizens to a free and democratic expression of their will during the preparations for the presidential elections and on the voting day. Honest elections and strict compliance with the law on the voting day constitute the basis of the legitimacy of state authority and source of public trust.
In conclusion, I would like to thank you and all your colleagues for doing your jobs honestly, for your principled attitude to protecting the interests of the state and society and the rights of Russian citizens. I hope you will continue to work professionally and consistently.