Russia is consistently developing anti-corruption legislation. Earlier this year Russian President approved National Anti-Corruption Plan for the years 2012 – 2013. As a step further Russia is planning to adopt laws aimed at increasing control over Russian state officials’ expenditures.
In March 2012, the then-Russian president Dmitry Medvedev adopted National Anti-Corruption Plan for the years 2012–2013 (the “Plan”). The Plan contains guidance and recommendations for the government, federal executive bodies, other government agencies etc. relating to the efforts to counteract corruption, including the establishment of the legal framework for lobbying and increasing the transparency of state officials’ personal finances and acceptance of gifts.
The adoption of laws aimed at increasing control over Russian state officials’ expenditures can be the next step of the anti-corruption initiative.
Draft law No. 47244-6 was already adopted by Russian State Duma in the first reading. Pursuant to the draft law, individuals holding public office, state officials, municipal official and employees of state organizations (“State Officials”) are required to submit information on the funds spent by them and members of their families (spouses and underage children) to acquire certain types of property: real estate, securities, stock and vehicles. The draft law can also require State Officials to disclose the source of money spent to confirm the legality of obtaining the above mentioned property. The draft law requires such information to be provided if the amount of a single transaction made by a State Official or a member of his/her family exceeds the total income of all family members earned by them at their primary place of employment over the period of three years. Audits can be conducted based on the results of the disclosed information. In case a State Official’s expenditures are not consistent with his income, a State Official can be dismissed and the unlawfully acquired property can be forfeited in favor of the state. A State Official can be also dismissed in case he refuses to disclose the requested information on expenditures.
Another draft law has not been yet submitted to the State Duma but is already being widely discussed. This draft law requires State Officials, deputies, senators and governors to disclose information on their foreign bank accounts and transactions related to acquisition of property and stocks abroad. Some proponents of this law go even further and suggest imposing a ban on State Officials and their relatives to deposit money with foreign banks. The authors of this initiative consider that such law is essential for securing independence of Russian State Officials from any foreign influence.
Russian National Anti-Corruption Plan and draft laws are in line with the fundamental principles of modern society: openness and accountability of government. Control over Russian state officials’ expenditures is an important anti-corruption initiative and the relevant laws are most likely to be adopted in the nearest future.