Organized Crime and Corruption: A Business in Russia

Russian Government’s corrupt practice of seizing businesses is ruining the lives of people in the country.

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Organized Crime A Business in Russia

Corruption has become a part and parcel of Russia today. One of its major impacts is seen in the businesses and jobs in Russia. Government and military agencies adopt unfair means to seize businesses of the common man. They detain or threaten the owners, thereby resulting in the loss or closure of their businesses/jobs. In Russia, cases of lawless persecutions are more than that of political persecutions which make lives of businessman and professionals a challenging one.

Last year, a Moscow news media reported that an armed person had taken hostages at a candy factory in the city and killed a guard. The killer was none other than a former owner of the factory who was still fighting for its ownership. Prior to his arrest, he told Business FM that he was countering an attack planned by law enforcement agents to take away his business. He is now remanded in custody or pre-trial detention and the investigation results are pending. The claims made by the killer spread commotion in Russia, where business owners, company managers, lawyers, and other professionals served years in prison and lost their assets, health, and even their lives.

In another case, Telkov, a manufacturer of furniture upholstery was accused of violating the intellectual property of leopards by using their skin pattern in the furniture upholstery he made. He served a year in prison and lost $360,000 along with his entire business. It took several years after his release before his case was closed on Putin’s personal orders.

In yet another case, Andrey Kleshchin, a contractor was just released from home confinement after a year, where he was banned from using the telephone or the internet. “But the most unbearable thing is to watch my business, which I had built over the years, being destroyed,” Kleshchin responded to questions passed to him by his lawyer.

In a meeting held in 2015, Putin said 200,000 business-related criminal cases had been presented the year before, of which a mere 46,000 cases had reached the court. Worse still, only 83% of businessmen involved in the 200,000 cases had lost their businesses, he said. Putin said that they were intimidated, robbed and then released.

Olga Romanova, a former journalist and the founder of Russia Behind Bars said that the members of law enforcement, security, and military agencies are currently targeting businesses managed by rival law enforcers or affiliated businessmen with access to government contracts. She also said that several cases are initiated by law enforcement agents without anyone filing a complaint. Moreover, courts mostly issue guilty verdicts without establishing if any party suffered damage from the defendant’s actions.

Detectives, prosecutors, and judges are forced into predation (Russian law enforcement – police, prosecutors, and the judiciary) by a sense of agreement with peers and superiors, a fear of being boycotted, and the demands of targets their agencies set for crimes solved and criminals prosecuted, Selyutin, the trainer, said.

A company, Selyutin and Partners offers an audit to identify a company’s possibilities for attack as well as workshops. The aim of the firm is to help top managers, business owners and other staff deal with law-enforcement agents by learning the way to talk to them and react to threats or attacks. Aleksander Selyutin is the owner of the company. Such services are being marketed in Russia while attacks on the region’s businesses extend to firms that have a contract with the government, according to Romanova. The company offers legal and financial support to those it considers victims of prosecutions, more specifically businessman.

Romanova believes that role of the courts is vital because they block opposition candidates such as Alexey Navalny, Russia’s opposition leader, from running in elections, or jail them when the Kremlin finds it convenient.

Currently, Russia Behind Bar’s Moscow office has 18 employees, including former prisoners or relatives of ex-prisoners, assisted by 400 volunteers around the country. Bureaus are being established in other big cities. The group offered material assistance, including food parcels and legal and financial help for families of prisoners, Romanova said.

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