The Council of Europe (CoE) has given a satisfactory assessment of Russia’s efforts to criminalise bribery and promote transparency in the financing of political parties in the report by the Council of Europe’s working group on combating corruption (GRECO), published on Monday.
At the same time, GRECO expressed disappointment in the decision of the Russian authorities to review certain articles of the criminal code concerning bribery. According to the authors of the report, the proposed changes do not fully meet the requirements of the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption.
Together, the CoE working group on combating corruption positively assessed the proposed increase in the statute of limitations from two to six years for cases of active and passive bribery. In addition, GRECO was pleased with the proposed exclusion from the Criminal Code of the rule that criminal prosecution was instituted only upon the request of a commercial organisation if the damage was done solely to its interests.
The Council of Europe welcomed the reforms carried out by the Russian authorities to establish transparency in party funding. GRECO noted as an example the limitation on the maximum amount of membership fees and donations from individuals. This reduces the risk of using contributions to circumvent the threshold set for donations.
In response to allegations of abuse of office during the election campaign, GRECO requested more specific information on the implementation of the laws in practice, including during the presidential elections of 2018. In addition, the Council of Europe’s working group on combating corruption urged the Russian authorities to review the way in which election commissions are formed in the field and complete “various promising initiatives of the CEC” to better protect the independence and impartiality of these bodies.
In total, the Russian authorities managed in one way or another to comply with 12 of the 21 recommendations of GRECO. Earlier, the Council of Europe called on Russia to strengthen control over corruption among deputies, judges and prosecutors.