In the event that the Duma passes a bill to punish the observance of sanctions, this may affect domestic companies producing Russian appliances, as well as their foreign investors. The latter in this case can in principle withdraw from the market in Russia. Such a fear in a letter to the chairman of the State Duma Vyacheslav Volodin was expressed by representatives of the Association of Trade Companies and Manufacturers of Electrical and Computer Equipment (RATEK, among the members of the association - Apple, Google, Whirlpool, IBM, Nikon, etc.). The appeal is at the disposal of RBC.
The document, against which the company came forward, was introduced by a group of deputies to the lower house of parliament in May. A bill that introduces responsibility for "deliberate acts conducive to the introduction of restrictive measures by a foreign state, union of foreign states or an international organization with respect to Russian private and public entities, as well as persons under its control", has already passed its first reading in the State Duma on May 15. The initiative involves not only penalties for violators, but also a restriction of freedom for them. In particular, a Russian citizen may be arrested for six months or imprisoned for up to three years if he "contributes to the introduction of foreign sanctions against Russian companies and their owners." For the enforcement of sanctions by foreign countries, a Russian citizen may be punished by forced labor or imprisonment. In these cases, the maximum period is defined in the bill in four years.
The adoption of such a bill in the current version, as stated in the letter to RATEK Volodin, "will lead to a serious deterioration in the situation of both foreign investors and Russian companies." The consequence, as the authors of the message warned, could be the "curtailment" of these organizations in Russia, which in the end will result for the country "by reducing investments, loss of jobs and deterioration of the competitive environment." In this regard, representatives of RATEK asked Volodin to postpone the adoption of the bill. The letter was signed by the president of the association Alexander Onishchuk.
As explained by RBC representative of RATEK Anton Guskov, in the Russian market of electrical appliances and computers, there are international companies that can develop a product in one country, and collect it or buy components for it - in another. "If the bill on criminal responsibility for compliance with sanctions against Russia is adopted, these companies will not be able to meet the requirements of Russian legislation and will have to withdraw from Russia," he explained the reasons for the members' concerns.
Earlier, the deputy head of the VTB Andrey Kostin spoke out against the deputy initiative. "I, and [Viktor] Vekselberg, we believe that this carries further damage to the Russian economy," he said on May 16. On the same day, the lower house of parliament admitted that the document could be finalized. Additional consultations to deputies on this matter, as one of the authors of the draft law, Andrei Isaev, told RBC, Volodin suggested. Such a decision, according to the interlocutor of RBC, was taken after appealing to the Duma of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs. As a result, on May 17 the second reading of the draft law on punishment for sanctions was postponed. "We are now looking at whether it is possible to improve this law by revisions. I do not exclude the possibility of writing a new version instead of making corrections, "explained the president of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, Alexander Shokhin.
The draft law on imposing penalties for compliance with sanctions imposed on Russia was criticized by business associations of European countries. Against the adoption of the bill were the Russian-German Chamber of Commerce (AHK) and the Franco-Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI). According to European businessmen, in the current form, amendments to the Criminal Code will damage the Russian economy and industry and lead to a deterioration in the investment climate.
The European Business Association (AEB) also expressed concerns about the draft law. The AEB's concern was caused by the vague wording of the amendments to the articles of the Criminal Code proposed in the draft law, the application of which could put representatives of not only foreign but also Russian businesses in jeopardy. The association warned that the European business could be "jammed in the grip of Russian-American sanctions" and this will lead to a decrease in the investment attractiveness of the Russian market and the deterioration of the business climate in the country as a whole. The AEB urged the State Duma to take a balanced approach to the adoption of the draft law in order to minimize the "harmful consequences for cooperation between Russian and European companies".