Support The Moscow Times!

Titov Wants to Free 100,000 Jailed Entrepreneurs

An initiative by business ombudsman Boris Titov to free more than 100,000 entrepreneurs serving prison sentences for white-collar crimes will be submitted to the State Duma next week, Kommersant reported Wednesday.

Titov warned that many people were likely to oppose the idea, but he acknowledged that without such a measure it would be difficult to overcome the remnants of the "turbulent 1990s."

Titov also told Kommersant that some 600,000 criminal cases had been opened against entrepreneurs in the last three years and that 110,924 of them had led to prison terms.

In most cases, the businesspeople had been brought to justice for crimes that didn't actually harm anyone, he said.

A Just Russia said Wednesday that it would back the legislation.

"Law enforcement authorities are often used to put pressure on entrepreneurs in order to control their businesses, and then they end up in prison," said Mikhail Yemelyanov, first deputy head of the Duma's Economic Policy, Innovative Development and Entrepreneurship Committee.

Yemelyanov, a deputy for A Just Russia, added that his party was going to support Titov's initiative, Interfax reported.

The amnesty will cover 53 legally defined crimes, among which fraud, embezzlement and property damage will be the most controversial ones, Titov's office said.

The implementation of the initiative is planned to coincide with Entrepreneur's Day, a non-public holiday, on May 26.

Related articles:

Read more

Independent journalism isn’t dead. You can help keep it alive.

As the only remaining independent, English-language news source reporting from Russia, The Moscow Times plays a critical role in connecting Russia to the world.

Editorial decisions are made entirely by journalists in our newsroom, who adhere to the highest ethical standards. We fearlessly cover issues that are often considered off-limits or taboo in Russia, from domestic violence and LGBT issues to the climate crisis and a secretive nuclear blast that exposed unknowing doctors to radiation.

Please consider making a one-time donation — or better still a recurring donation — to The Moscow Times to help us continue producing vital, high-quality journalism about the world's largest country.