Valentina Matviyenko: “There is no emergency. There is a synchronized, operational work”
Responsibility for violation of the quarantine will be tightened: a fine of up to 300,000 rubles and imprisonment of up to 7 years
“The State Duma has just passed a law, they call me and ask: if we go out on the street now, they can put us in prison for 7 years?" Senator Sergey Lisovsky tried to get clarification on the special regime. The Federation Council on the eve of the extraordinary plenary session approved tougher penalties for violation of quarantine in the conditions of coronavirus. The maximum fine is up to 300,000 rubles, and if the violation causes infection and the death of people — a criminal penalty of up to 7 years. However, as the correspondent of Realnoe Vremya witnessed, the main topic of the meeting was the approval of a package of anti-crisis measures in the economy.
“There is no emergency, of course”
The large “antivirus” package of Putin's initiatives has resulted in changes to 15 federal laws. They were presented by Deputy Chairman of the upper house Nikolay Zhuravlev, who represents the Federation Council in the government's operational headquarters for countering coronavirus. The package includes the proposals from the regions to prevent the deterioration in the economy. Changes are being made to the law on the protection of territories from emergencies, on basic guarantees of electoral rights, on the basics of tourism, on insolvency, on the circulation of medicines and others, Nikolay Zhuravlev listed. The main goal is to achieve stabilization of the economic situation in conditions of high readiness.
“There is no emergency, of course. There is a synchronized, operational work of the executive and legislative authorities," explained Valentina Matviyenko. “We are ready to do everything fast, to take a strict approach and in an expeditious manner.
The main innovation is that the government is given the power to introduce a high-alert or emergency situation in the country. In this case, the head of the subject is given the authority to establish rules of conduct when introducing a high-alert or emergency mode.
“This is being introduced for the first time," said Andrey Klishas, the chairperson of the Federation Council Committee on constitutional legislation.
According to him, the state authorities of the subjects will determine the mandatory rules of behaviour of citizens in conditions of high alert or emergency. “Based on article 55, paragraph 3 of the Constitution and the ruling of the constitutional court, restrictions on rights and freedoms used to be the exclusive competence of the Russian Federation," he said.
A new form of guilt due to negligent actions
At the same time, responsibility for violating the quarantine regime is being tightened at the federal level. These measures have two goals, explained Andrey Klishas. First, criminal liability for violations of the quarantine is introduced. According to him, there is a “new form of guilt due to negligence”. If earlier they were subject to criminal prosecution in case of negative consequences, now they are subject to criminal prosecution in case of death by negligence. Stricter liability means that the culprit can get 7 years in prison for violating the quarantine if two or more people become infected and died because of his actions. If the violation of sanitary and epidemic rules led to mass infection, but no one died, then you can face a fine or restriction of freedom for up to 3 years.
Second, the Code of Administrative Offences establishes new penalties for violating the rules of conduct in an emergency or threat of its occurrence. If the quarantine regime is violated under the threat of spreading the disease, a fine of 15,000 to 40,000 rubles is imposed instead of the previous 500 rubles for individuals. For officials — from 50,000 to 150,000 rubles. If the offense caused harm to health or death, but does not contain signs of a crime, the amount of the penalty will be from 150,000 to 300,000 rubles for citizens.
If I go outside, they'll put me in jail?
“The State Duma has just passed a law, they call me and ask: if we go out on the street now, they can put us in prison for 7 years?" Senator Sergey Lisovsky started the debate. “Everywhere they are talking about compliance with sanitary and epidemiological rules... People can't always understand what they've violated. But it is such a long time!” He called on senators and local authorities to consider “how these rules will be brought to attention.”
Senator Akhmat Salpagarov is also concerned about this topic. He asked how those who work in continuous production or in the life support system can protect themselves from the sanctions of this law. “They probably should have special passes so that they do not fall under the law," he reasoned.
He was supported by Chairman of the Federation Council Valentina Matvienko, noting that the nuances of this law should be explained as accurately as possible by lawmakers. “The senators ask me, when will we get our passes? I gave them an example. It has been posted on the Internet that the most popular passes are the 5-thousand-ruble bill. Just in case, you should have it with you," she joked, admitting that it is not necessary to overdo it. On the other hand, the decree of the mayor of Moscow is published everywhere, but people still violate it, get sick themselves and infect others. “In this case, we are talking about special situations. But ignorance of the law does not exempt you from responsibility.”
Big businesses want to test employees on the spot
Another anti-crisis measure may be the lifting of the ban on the import of test systems for determining coronavirus to Russia. Large enterprises can start testing employees on-site without stopping production. At the plenary session, Speaker of the Federation Council Valentina Matvienko instructed to prepare an address to the government with a proposal to remove restrictions: “Heads of large companies and business representatives are coming out. They are very concerned that we have a ban on the import of various test systems, they are worried about their workers, large factories, that they can not conduct testing. Our test systems are still not enough. They are asking to lift the ban, they are ready to buy these test systems for their own money and conduct regular testing of workers," she said to representatives of the ministry of economy of the Russian Federation. Matviyenko suggested making a “hot list” of all business proposals and making decisions based on it that would make life easier for businessmen and minimize the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.
“To produce masks, you need to have a license. Is it possible for this period to quickly make a decision and remove the [requirement] for a license for the most necessary things that should be produced?" Matviyenko urged to take on more courage and responsibility. “Perfume companies are ready to produce disinfectants, but they do not have permission to work with ethyl alcohol. There are so many of these stupid things, they need to be removed just with the stroke of a pen every day," the speaker added.
In response, Deputy Minister of Economy of the Russian Federation Alexander Khersontsev said that in the near future, the licensing regime will change. “This law provides for the amendment proposed by the ministry, which allows changing many licensing regimes very quickly in the current conditions. The minister [of economic development] was instructed today to submit proposals to the government with a plan to adopt all government acts under this law within a week," he said.
Deferred lease payments and penalties for housing and utilities debts
Besides, the package of anti-virus measures includes deferred rental payments, features of accrual and payment of penalties in the case of incomplete payment of housing and utilities services by citizens and contributions for capital repairs. The government has the right to make a decision to refund the cost of a tourist product to tourists in full from the personal liability fund of the tour operator in case of restrictions on the entry and exit of tourists.
“But it must exclude the situation when unscrupulous people, those who raise food prices without reason, would start taking advantage of this situation because of the coronavirus," Matvienko warned. “Or those who want to write off their accumulated problems. This should be avoided. We stopped a law here that we tried to push through under the pretext of the coronavirus. But everything that is rational and supports the economy will be taken into account," she concluded.