Half a year at the post of Prosecutor General of the country, Igor Krasnov yesterday "noted" a speech in the Federation Council. The annual rule of law report in Russia is a common practice. True, the former Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika came to parliament at the invitation of senators and reported solely on indicators for the previous year, and Krasnov himself took the initiative and even touched on the period of work over the past five months of 2020. Novye Izvestia analyzed the report of the prosecutor general to see if the department has different approaches to working in connection with the activities of the new head. The director of the Center for the Development of Regional Politics Ilya Graschenkov, the lawyer of the project "Sitting Russia" Aleksey Fedyarov and the former senior investigator for especially important cases under the Prosecutor General of the USSR, deputy of the Supreme Council of the USSR and the State Duma of the second convocation Telman Gdlyan helped us figure this out.
Old problems through the mouth of a new prosecutor
Krasnov began his speech with one of the most pressing and painful topics today - health. In particular, it was about the problems of paying premiums to doctors and the quality of medicine in general. The Prosecutor General reported that his department is actively monitoring the development of local legal acts guaranteeing coronavirus supplements to doctors. One can only guess how it turned out that, as the Novye Izvestia editors found out, a third of the doctors didn’t see the money ... Krasnov also smashed the use of new medical equipment, which in Dagestan, Karelia, Chechnya, Astrakhan, Vologda, Kaliningrad regions are simply not used. The topic, to put it mildly, is not new and quite well known. Here are some more examples from the corners of the country that the prosecutor had forgotten: in 2012, we bought 38 X-ray machines for polyclinics in St. Petersburg that could not be used due to the lack of Russian certification; in the Vologda Oblast, 2 radiotherapy machines were idle for 2 years, in Magadan Oncology dispensary idle equipment worth 17 million rubles, in 2015, Roszdravnadzor drew attention to this problem, and in 2016 - All Russia People's Front. But Krasnov drew attention to the shortage of doctors in the country. It is a pity that this issue did not come to the attention of the prosecutor’s office several years ago - during the hot "optimization" and the subsequent rather long period of rainbow reporting on the successes of this process, the indicators of which Tatyana Golikova only recently doubted.
In general, the keynote of the entire report of the prosecutor general was two main points. The first - something terrible happens around, the second - this terrible did not go unnoticed by the prosecutors, the work is very active. We, too, cannot ignore the achievements of the department, and we list them. The prosecutor's office in honor of the 75th anniversary of the victory drew attention to veterans of the Great Patriotic War (we hope that next time it will pay attention at least in a year, and not in five - to the next anniversary) and provided them with housing and medicine. The prosecutor's office defended half a million employees of companies for which malicious entrepreneurs set wages below the minimum wage. And some entrepreneurs abused restrictive measures and either left employees without a salary or fired. The prosecutor’s office is also worried that the ban on work and lack of money played into the hands of business.
Our experts are not so sure about this and are rather skeptical of Krasnov’s statement about the business. Telman Gdlyan believes that simply “everyone survived as best he could. But the command came from above not to leave people without a salary. ” Other experts also side with entrepreneurs.
- A person simply does not imagine what a private business is. Why would an entrepreneur shoot himself in the foot? If you do not pay a salary, then people will simply leave to work for another. This applies to any business. How can one stop paying, realizing that this is a risk of being left without workers at all? There was a situation in which you have to pay salaries, but there is no income due to government bans. People chose where to give money: pay taxes, pay rent or pay a salary.
- To blame entrepreneurs for not paying salaries is very much in the spirit of our state. To begin with, the government has never introduced an emergency mode. In fact, instead of it, some kind of independent regime of self-isolation was introduced, which had to be paid for by small and medium-sized businesses. Actually, he is now threatened with complete ruin, first from what the authorities in the country have arranged, and now against the background of the forthcoming second wave. Therefore, entrepreneurs are simply trying to save the money that they have left. To consider that they should share with their employees means to shift responsibility from the state to business. It is obvious that Krasnov completely shares these ideas.
Jack of all trades
Krasnov's report was very detailed. He clearly made it clear that there were no minor problems for the department. Everything is important. It follows from the report that the prosecutor's office protects the rights of minors studying in emergency rooms of schools without proper protection and risking poisoning by school lunch, monitors the condition of school buses, protects pensioners and disabled people, providing unhindered access to social facilities and payment of pensions. The deceived interest-holders, who did not evaporate anywhere after a year ago the state actually canceled shared construction, switched to escrow accounts, did not stand aside. According to prosecutors, the number of offenses even increased by 2.8% last year - to 11,193 cases. What to do? The prosecutor's office has a solution that captivates with its novelty - to develop a list of measures for each long-term construction. The officials and activists from the affected equity holders at each meeting and round table talk about the same thing. Only the latter also offer concrete measures.
It was the prosecutor’s office that ensured the fulfillment of the state defense order last year by 97% (so do not think that this is the merit of defense enterprises). The prosecutor’s office also understands garbage: in half of the regions, re-operators improperly take out garbage, but the inaction of local authorities is to blame. In general, local governments often become extreme at the prosecutor's office. They, and not high taxes at all, or constant checks by supervisory authorities, and not a ban on work, are primarily to blame for the unsatisfactory state of the business. Although there is still one problem beyond the responsibility of local authorities: unjustified criminal cases brought simply by the fact of a banal failure to fulfill contractual obligations. Original and new? Yes, if you do not recall the many requirements of Vladimir Putin to ease the pointless pressure on business.
Amazing stability: almost the same figures in the reports from year to year
The report could be called quite breakthrough and made a demonstration of the victory of publicity and transparency in a single agency ... If not for one but. Similar conclusions are made by the prosecutor's office with enviable constancy. And with any guidance. The data on offenses cited by Krasnov and his predecessor Chaika in recent years practically do not differ from each other. For example, in the health sector in 2015, 80,316 offenses were detected, and in 2019 - 77,364. 24,951 employers were brought to administrative responsibility for non-payment of salaries in 2017, and 24,819 in 2019. Amazing stability. But in 3 years a lot has changed, including the economic situation. The number of offenses affecting the interests of pensioners fell by 4.9% last year. In the economic sphere, the number of detected offenses over the 5 years has decreased by 17%, in the field of environmental protection the number of offenses has decreased since 2015 by 2.5% to 280,132 cases.
Significant changes affected only statistics on corruption crimes. Over the past year, 131 criminal cases have been opened for embezzlement, embezzlement and other crimes in the implementation of multi-billion dollar national projects, and approximately the same amount has already happened in 5 months of 2020. An undoubted breakthrough occurred in the issue of collecting illegally acquired property: a 70-fold increase - from 300 million rubles in 2018 to 21.4 billion rubles in 2019. But there is a nuance: last year the property of the famous colonel Zakharchenko was recovered by 9 billion rubles (then the defense protested), 6.3 billion rubles - the recovery from FSB colonel Cherkalin (although 12 billion rubles were found during the search) and 10.5 billion rubles were taken into state revenue from the ex-head of the Serpukhov district of the Moscow region, Alexander Shestun . A couple of court decisions, and an unprecedented "record" is ready.
Is stability a sign of skill?
In general, the statistics are virtually unchanged. According to the reports, prosecutors are active. One question remains - where is the result of this work? The reports on the efforts made are full of details of the achievements of the department and its employees, and the surrounding reality in Russia in the same reports is described from year to year in fact as a horror film. It doesn’t agree: either the prosecutors deliberately exaggerate, reporting on the terrible conditions in life in the country, or there is a big question to the efficiency of the department.
This is how our experts comment on this contradiction.
- Criticism of what is happening is the core of the department’s activity, since it must correct something and monitor something. Under the circumstances, prosecutorial supervision acts strictly in the interests of the general system of government. Actually, like other branches of government, from the legislative to the judicial. Reports with numbers are a PR for the agency, which must prove that it is independent and constantly fights against violators.
- For many years, the prosecutor’s office has set itself the task. And they all have one goal - the bureaucratic expansion of the system and the receipt of additional funding. In the USSR there were no more than 20 thousand prosecutors together with investigators. Now there are about 60 thousand without investigation. Who knows what prosecutors do? Often she is engaged in absolute nonsense, for example, there was a case when the prosecutor went to check the energy retail companies and found that there were no locks on the power switchboards in the entrances. And to each such box a lawsuit was written in defense of the rights of citizens. And from such insignificant cases, reports are obtained. But in Russia there is an enormous number of supervisory bodies without a prosecutor’s office.
Competition is not a hindrance
Experts agree that the prosecutor’s office is in no hurry (and not particularly interested) to solve the existing problems, and emphasizes the description of the negative, criticism of the security forces with local self-government, so that they become a kind of “lightning rod” to avoid responsibility on the part of the prosecutors themselves . The reports of Yuri Chaika took place in this part according to a similar scenario. Last year, it was noted that the damage from corruption doubled, that investigators work inefficiently, and they commit violations at the FS for Punishment Execution. The familiar picture. There remains the last assumption: maybe these angry representatives of other law enforcement agencies, who turned out to be more influential, are taking revenge on prosecutors for their active work and “sticks in the wheels” of colleagues? True, experts believe this version is not very believable.
- From the point of view of relations with the security forces, everything is built very well: everyone has some authority, but no one can do everything. This is an equally powerful figure, but no one is omnipotent.
- The prosecutor’s office is one of the leading departments among the security forces, but, of course, not the strongest. It is inferior to the FSB, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, but plays an important role in the life of the regions. In fact, the only ones who can resist lawlessness in the territories are prosecutors, therefore, of course, the prosecutor general is of great importance and political weight.
Alexei Fedyarov also believes that the reason for the contradictions lies in the delicate situation that the prosecutor’s office will fall into if it shows positive results - the agency will have to be reduced . “The worse the situation in the reports, the better the leadership of the department,” says the expert.
And Telman Gdlyan is sure that in the current system, its links have no chance at all of influencing any things and changing it. “The prosecutor’s office is only part of a large state system with all its shortcomings. It, like the police, the FSB and other bodies, cannot differ and be devoid of the shortcomings of society and the state system. There is no breakthrough either in the economy or in social life; there will be no breakthrough in the power departments as well”.
There is no unity in the law enforcement agencies, but alone, as in the case of the prosecutor’s office, they cannot oppose the system. Yes, and do not want to. Therefore doomed to feed this system. Such modern children of Сronos.