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Overall crime in Russia falling, organized crime rising - prosecutor-general

Moscow, 30 April: The number of crimes registered in Russia in 2008 (as received) is falling: it fell by nearly 10.5 per cent last year, says a report by Russian Prosecutor-General Yuriy Chayka on the strengthening of law and order in the Russian Federation in 2008.

The document has been received by the Federation Council and will be officially presented by Chayka at the plenary session of the house on 13 May.

The number of registered robberies with violence (vernacular: razboy) fell by 22 per cent last year; homicides, by 10 per cent; cases of grievous bodily harm with intent, by 4 per cent; and rapes, by 12 per cent; the number of crimes committed by groups of people also fell by 12 per cent, the report says.

At the same time the report says that the number of crimes committed by organized groups or criminal communities continued to rise. An increase in organized criminal activity can be observed in illegal property deals, in the fuel and energy sector, in the illegal use of aquatic biological resources; and in logging and timber processing.

"In the absence of an efficient legal mechanism to counter organized crime, a federal law 'On combating organized crime' should be drawn up and adopted," the report says.

The prosecutor-general notes a rise in tax crimes; in 2008, losses from the evasion of taxes and levies by organizations amounted to R45bn (about 1,365m dollars ate the current rate of exchange).

"The falling rate of growth of the global and national economy, rising unemployment, and a fall in real incomes will in the short term remain the decisive factors contributing to a rise in economic crime," the prosecutor-general says.