Monday, August 8, 2022

National Anti-Corruption Committee Pushes to Make ‘Wrecking’ a Crime as It was in Soviet Times

Paul Goble

            Staunton, July 23 – Kirill Kabanov, head of the National Anti-Corruption Committee, says that shortcomings in the work of Russian enterprises in the face of Western sanctions and import substitution means that Moscow must again declare wrecking against the law and impose criminal sanctions against those who do not succeed in their economic tasks.

            Kabanov, who earlier served in the FSB and now is on the Presidential Human Rights Council, says that these shortcomings threaten the national security of the country and can’t be tolerated anymore (

            Senator Andrey Klishas, often associated with the most outrageous notions that nonetheless have the support of the Kremlin, said that Kabanov’s ideas deserved discussion because there are questions about why some industries aren’t performing as well as expected especially at a time when the country is engaged in a special military operation in Ukraine.

            The idea of making any economic failure the occasion for criminal charges goes back to the first years of Soviet power when the Bolsheviks went after miners and industrialists in the Shakhti affair and the Industrial Party case and then in the 1930s when such charges were used to purge the leaders of almost all major industries in the Soviet Union.

            It is far from clear whether this notion will go forward, but its attractions to the state are obvious: it would give the Kremlin an additional whip hand against industrialists and entrepreneurs and likely would have more support from other Russians than more hyperbolic charges.

            But precisely because that is the case, industry leaders and government officials responsible for making the economy function certainly fear that danger and will work very hard, almost certainly behind the scenes rather than more publicly, to block something that could cost them their jobs or even more.

            The fact that such a potentially divisive idea is even being discussed, of course, demonstrates that the Russian economy is not doing nearly as well as the Kremlin likes to claim. If it were, there would bee no need to roil the waters by raising the specter of Shakhti-type trials in the future.

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