The government’s deregulation actions against the backdrop of COVID-19 have had a serious effect on business – both the number of inspections and the amount of fines have decreased, the annual report of the Commissioner for the Protection of the Rights of Entrepreneurs Boris Titov to the President records. The moratorium on inspections alone reduced the amount of fines collected from businesses sixfold, by 200 billion rubles. However, the departments are trying to win back the losses: inspections are actively replaced by other types of control, and the fines on their results are growing. Business notes negative trends in the application of criminal legislation.
Business Ombudsman Boris Titov, in his annual report to the president on the state of the business environment, notes the positive changes in the field of control and supervisory activities (CPV) in 2020. The moratorium on inspections and measures to reduce administrative pressure saved business 200 billion rubles: in comparison with the data of 2019, the amount of administrative fines in “economic” cases decreased almost six times over the year, to 42 billion rubles, follows from the estimates of the Administrative Pressure Index. At the end of 2020, there were 3.44 million companies in the Unified State Register of Legal Entities, that is, the savings amounted to about 60 thousand rubles. for one legal entity.
The index assesses the reduction in KNV repressiveness, the effectiveness of a risk-based approach, the amount of fines collected by agencies, and the proportion of fines imposed without audits. The indicator is calculated for the third year in a row according to the Ministry of Economy, Rosstat, regional departments and commissioners and judicial statistics. According to Boris Titov, the development of the index indicators contributed to the decision to create a unified register of control and supervisory measures and improved the situation in the regions. In particular, the Kaluga region has moved in the ranking of regions immediately from 76th to 4th place, Orlovskaya – from 63rd to 20th, Moscow – from 42nd to 13th. The reduction in the number of inspections is impressive – since 2010, the number of scheduled and unscheduled inspections at all levels of government has decreased by 81%. Only in comparison with 2019, the number of federal inspections in 2020 has more than halved – to 402 thousand, less often cases of harm during inspections are recorded – 25 thousand versus 38 thousand.In 2020, 624 thousand legal entities and individual entrepreneurs were brought to administrative responsibility against 920 thousand in 2019. In the office of the business ombudsman, such results are directly associated with the transition to a preventive approach and with a moratorium on inspections and insist on extending the latter for inspections for small and medium-sized businesses in 2022.
However, the index still records cases of replacement of inspections with control measures that are not taken into account by state statistics (administrative investigations, raids, “control purchases”). Thus, the share of fines following the results of inspections by Rostransnadzor and Rostekhnadzor increased by 50%, Rospotrebnadzor – by 24%. It is expected that the issue will be resolved by launching an updated register of control measures. In the meantime, the data of the register of inspections and the Ministry of Economy do not coincide (352 thousand and 534 thousand inspections, respectively), and federal data in the regional context and the data of territorial departments contradict each other – the CPV sphere as a whole remains opaque, the authors of the report state.
At the same time, the expert community also points to the high risks of criminal prosecution of entrepreneurs. According to a survey by the office of the business ombudsman, almost 80% of companies do not consider it safe to do business in the Russian Federation, and almost a third of complaints to the ombudsman are related to criminal prosecution of business (almost 23% of such complaints are in Moscow). The apparatus indicates that the thresholds of damage for criminal liability have already been increased, the possibility of termination of a criminal case under a number of “business” articles in compensation for damage is provided, but in practice these measures are not effective enough: for example, civil disputes are replaced by criminal prosecution, and measures of restraint and procedural coercion remain an instrument of pressure on business.