Business programme

Defining the Boundaries of Crime as a Way to Decriminalize Economic Activity and Improve the Business Climate

Congress Centre, conference hall D1
Control, Oversight and Regulation
The Supreme Court of the Russian Federation has set out official clarifications regarding tax infringements. However, in practice there is insufficient information to prevent unjust criminalization. Tax legislation is still full of ambiguities, omissions, and contradictions. It is also subject to constant change, and yet fails to take into account the many forms of doing business when it comes to the application of criminal law. Requirements set out in customs legislation are often not sufficiently clear and understandable. As a result, importers are left to take their own decisions regarding customs valuations or how to classify certain goods, thereby entering into a legal grey area. And with the transition to customs post-control, situations such as these are being encountered more and more frequently. Unlike the tax-related items included in article 194 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, there are virtually no official clarifications, leading to law enforcement bodies failing to distinguish between customs violations and crimes. As a result, there have been unjustified acts of criminalization in the field of customs. Economic-related disputes regarding the collection of taxes and customs duties therefore carry with them the tinge of criminality. This has a negative impact on the business climate in Russia, and makes entrepreneurs feel that their rights are not necessarily guaranteed. Meanwhile, law-enforcement bodies end up making unjustified intrusions into the way companies operate and how government control is undertaken. The initiation of proceedings under article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation has become a commonplace method of coercing entrepreneurs to fulfil their obligations. It is also used as a means of conducting raids – something which is a genuine scourge that hinders business while having nothing to do with the objectives of criminal law.
• Factoring in the danger to the public as a key criterion when defining criminal behaviour.
• Identifying the boundaries between crimes, administrative violations, and civil tort cases, with the aim of clearly demarcating one from another.
• Methods of differentiation: legal clarifications and official explanations.


Vadim Zaripov
Head of Analytical Service, Pepeliaev Group


Ekaterina Avdeeva
Head of the Expert Center for Criminal Law Policy and Enforcement of Judicial Acts, All-Russia Public Organization Delovaya Rossiya (Business Russia)
Maksim Arzamastsev
Associate Professor of the Department of Criminal Law of the Law Faculty, St. Petersburg State University
Elena Artukh
Commissioner of the Sverdlovsk Region for the Protection of Entrepreneurs’ Rights
Konstantin Kalinovsky
Head of the Department of Criminal Procedure Law, North-West Branch of the Russian State University of Justice
Vyacheslav Kozlov
First Deputy Head of the Directorate of Customs Investigations and Inquiries, Federal Customs Service of the Russian Federation
Artem Lomize
Vice President, Association of Fish Processing and Trading Companies
Alexey Ryabov
Head, Expert and Legal Center of the Presidential Commissioner of the Russian Federation for the Protection of Entrepreneurs’ Rights