Actual problems of combating corruption

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The fight against corruption has actively developed in the international and domestic arena. The ratification of the fundamental documents of international law, for example, the 2003 UN Convention, made it possible to amend national legislation and increase liability for bribery, but the problem remains urgent. The fight against corruption in Russia in recent years has focused not only on changing legislation, but also on bringing bribe-takers to justice.

The main problems in the fight against corruption

The main innovation in the legislation aimed at ensuring the fight against corruption was the change in the principle of the formation of sanctions in the articles of the Criminal Code related to corruption offenses. Since 2013, the fine for a bribe can be 80-100 times the size of the bribe received. The practice of seizing property obtained by illegal means from the relatives of criminals has emerged. Thus, the action of the criminal law was extended to an unlimited number of persons.

But the strengthening of criminal liability, the foreclosure of the property of criminals did not become a panacea, corruption continues to be a serious issue of domestic policy, which is difficult to resolve. At the end of 2019, it was noted that the recommendations of the Council of Europe on combating corruption have not been fully implemented. GRECO (Group of States against Corruption) reviewed the Russian report on this issue and remained dissatisfied with it. Of the 22 recommendations given following the consideration of the previous report, the country has implemented only 7. Recommendations were made in terms of preventing corruption among parliamentarians, judges and prosecutors. 6 advice given for judges and 6 for members of parliament has not been fully implemented.

The next painful point on the map of corruption manifestations traditionally continues to be the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Almost every day, the media reports on the arrests or dismissals of high-ranking officers of the department, up to and including deputy ministers. A criminal case was recently opened against the famous ex-colonel of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Dmitry Zakharchenko on a bribe in the amount of 1.5 billion rubles. Increasingly, bribe extortion cases are being initiated against employees of other law enforcement agencies. So, recently an officer of the Russian Guard was under investigation, demanding 20 million rubles from the businessman.

The system of the Ministry of Economy was also extremely vulnerable to corruption; the main abuses were manifested in the management of state property and in the distribution of state support funds to certain areas of business. So, in 2017, ex-Minister of Economic Development Alexei Ulyukaev was brought to trial for a bribe related to the approval of the privatization of the oil company Bashneft. This situation led to the fact that, within the framework of combating corruption, the Federal Property Management Agency, which manages state blocks of shares and real estate and initiates privatization processes, was transferred from the subordination of the Ministry of Economy to the system of the Ministry of Finance.

New methods and means of fighting corruption

The main measure of the fight against corruption continues to be the criminal prosecution of bribe-takers. But it is an electoral decision, those officials are in the area of attention of law enforcement agencies, in relation to whom they are given a certain instruction by their higher management, in other cases, even with the availability of materials, criminal cases are not always initiated.

A more positive trend is emerging in the public administration system, where the administrative resources used by them to obtain property benefits are taken from corrupt officials. The main decision in terms of avoiding manifestations of corruption in the system of public administration of the economy is the rejection of the old methods of distributing preferences and benefits, strengthening control over their distribution. So, now the work on revising the list of systemically important enterprises has been intensified, aimed at preventing lobbying when “ours” are included in the list of companies eligible for benefits from the state.

The task of strengthening control over the expenses and income of civil servants is planned to be solved by adopting a law on expanding the circle of persons whose income and expenses are subject to monitoring within the framework of anti-corruption legislation. Earlier, the State Duma rejected the bill, believing that it infringes on the constitutional rights of citizens, nevertheless, it is consistent with European practice.

It is also necessary to continue to implement the recommendations of GRECO, including:

  • increase the level of transparency in the process of adopting laws, introducing amendments, approving or rejecting draft laws at the regional level;
  • to strengthen the system of control over income declarations of parliamentarians and civil servants, to introduce an open system of their verification and control;
  • to revise the process of selection of judges, which is currently characterized by opacity and bribery, to limit the immunity of judges as much as possible.

Failure to comply with the recommendations of GRECO will lead to the automatic inclusion of Russia in the list of countries refusing to systematically combat corruption. Thus, according to Transparency International, in 2018 Russia took 138th place in the list of 180 countries on the Corruption Perceptions Index, gaining 28 points out of 100, being in the eyes of the international community at the level of Guinea and Lebanon. This negatively affects the investment climate and the country's participation in large international business projects.