Legislation in question: Article 1594 of the Criminal Code
Legal issue: The constitutionality of the rule which establishes a less severe criminal punishment for fraud if the latter was committed in the context of entrepreneurial activities.
Ratio decidendi: The legislator had the right to provide for specific regulation in the area of business activities, if it purports to create a mechanism of protection of good-faith entrepreneurs from unjustified criminal liability. However, a lighter punishment for business fraud compared with the general fraud does not correspond to the Constitution. The federal legislator must amend the contested legislation within 6 months; otherwise it should lose force automatically.
Business activities and contract have a legally protected value per se. It essentially distinguishes them from fraud made covertly, not under authorities’ control; the difference in criminal liability may not therefore be ruled out. In current situation the State is limited in terms of means for improving business climate and controlling the lawfulness of criminal prosecution; therefore, the relaxation of criminal repression may be justified. The request from Salekhard court was inadmissible, because it did not have and could not have had any concrete legal consequences for the particular case which was considered by that court.