Russian corruption Europe is not a decree – Newspaper Kommersant No. 2 (7447) dated 10.01.2023

Russia withdraws from the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption. This step is a natural consequence of our country’s withdrawal from the Council of Europe. Legislators argue that we do not need advisers in the fight against this phenomenon: we will already give odds to other countries where they still do not know what it is to be dismissed due to loss of confidence. However, the expert notes that many anti-corruption practices have already begun to “collapse” – for example, officials are not required to publish their declarations this year.

President Vladimir Putin submitted to the State Duma bill to denounce the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption. As stated in the explanatory note, this is due to Russia’s withdrawal from the Council of Europe (CE) – one of the consequences of such a decision was the termination of the full membership of the Russian Federation in the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO), which monitors the implementation of the convention. Russia has lost the right to vote in GRECO and cannot participate in the discussion or adoption of the organization’s reports, although formally it remains the object of monitoring.

Such a discriminatory attitude within the framework of the GRECO evaluation mechanisms, Russia finds unacceptable for itself, the explanatory note notes, in this regard, it is proposed to denounce the convention and stop the participation of the Russian Federation in GRECO.

Russia signed the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption in 1999 and ratified it in 2006. Along with the UN Convention against Corruption, it became one of the basic documents that determined national anti-corruption strategies, reminds the director of Transparency International – R Ilya Shumanov (both the organization and Mr. Shumanov are included by the Ministry of Justice in the register of foreign agents), in particular, precisely because According to the requirements of the convention, a national anti-corruption plan appeared, corruption crimes were singled out in a separate block, measures were provided to prevent corruption among judges and prosecutors, and even protection of whistleblowers of corruption. Separately, it should be noted an effective tool for monitoring compliance with the requirements of the convention, the expert notes – the recommendations developed during this process concerned the prevention of corruption among parliamentarians, increasing the transparency of the legislative process and financing of political parties, as well as improving the process of selecting and appointing judges.

In his latest report on Russia (.pdfwas published in 2020) GRECO commended the progress made by the country’s authorities: nine of the twenty-two recommendations given to it were fully implemented, and another nine were partially implemented.

However, Russia has not introduced criminal liability for corruption for legal entities, and the norm on the need to prevent conflicts of interest has not returned to the Code of Judicial Ethics.

According to Ilya Shumanov, Transparency assessed the results of Russia’s efforts even higher than GRECO experts.

Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov has already stated that the denunciation of the convention will not affect the fight against corruption itself. A similar point of view is shared by parliamentarians who are to adopt the law. No sharp increase or mitigation of criminal liability for corruption crimes is predicted, Senator Andrei Klishas assured. It’s just that now “Russia will form its legislation on the basis of public demand and analysis of law enforcement practice, and not on the basis of instructions from an international organization,” he quotes TASS.

Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Security and Anti-Corruption Anatoly Vyborny (United Russia) is convinced that in terms of the development of anti-corruption legislation, Russia today is already ahead of many states.

“In many European and other countries of the world, for example, they don’t know what a conflict of interest is, they don’t understand what it is to be dismissed from a position due to loss of confidence and many other rules that are established in Russian law,” Kommersant said. parliamentarian: Nevertheless, they are constantly trying to belittle Russia on international platforms. Therefore, the decision to denounce the anti-corruption convention is necessary, and we will support it.”

As for the development of our national anti-corruption legislation, the deputy added, we have the Presidential Anti-Corruption Council, a national anti-corruption plan, and a national strategy. Finally, there is a basic law on combating corruption, and since its adoption, more than 120 regulatory legal acts have been adopted at the federal level alone. “We have one of the best anti-corruption laws,” added the deputy. “And we will continue to improve, but not in terms of major overhaul. We will be making jewelry settings.”

Deputy Chairman of the Committee on Legislation Yuri Sinelshchikov (KPRF) told Kommersant that the faction’s position on this issue has not yet been discussed. By itself, this document is difficult to assess with a plus or minus sign, since it did not have any serious consequences, the deputy is convinced – from this point of view, the UN Convention against Corruption has always caused much more controversy. For example, on the issue of criminalization of illicit enrichment, recalls the deputy. Therefore, he is personally ready to vote for the denunciation of the document “simply out of respect for the president.”

According to Mr. Shumanov, Russia’s withdrawal from the convention will result in a general mutation of anti-corruption policy.

The “collapse” of a number of practices can already be observed, the expert notes. For example, the declaration of income for participating in the SVO and the publication of declarations of officials have been canceled – however, so far only in 2023, but there are no guarantees that this is a temporary relaxation. In addition, rural municipal deputies were exempted from declaring incomes, the next in line are deputies of legislative assemblies of regions and city municipalities working on a non-permanent basis.

Anastasia Kornya, Ksenia Veretennikova

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