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The Group of States against Corruption publishes report on the Russian Federation
[Strasbourg, 30/04/2009] – The Council of Europe Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) today published its Joint First and Second Round Evaluation Report on the Russian Federation, which joined GRECO in 2007. The Report has been made public with the agreement of the Russian authorities.
The report, drawn up by a team of evaluators following a one-week visit to the Russian Federation, was adopted by GRECO on 5 December 2008.
GRECO found corruption to be a widespread systemic phenomenon in the Russian Federation which seems to affect society as a whole, the public administration, including the institutions in place to counteract corruption (the police and the judiciary) and the business sector.
The report focuses on general anti-corruption policies, independence of the judiciary, immunity from prosecution for corruption offences, the deprivation of benefits drawn from corrupt acts, measures to counter corruption in public administration and the prevention of legal persons - such as commercial companies - being used as shields for corruption.
GRECO noted a need for improvements in respect of the proper distribution of cases between different law enforcement agencies and for the enhancement of their interdepartmental cooperation. Moreover, further efforts to strengthen the independence of the judiciary are crucial in order to combat the common view in Russia that the judiciary is affected by undue influence and corruption.
The large number of officials enjoying immunity from criminal proceedings needs to be reduced to a minimum and the procedures for lifting such immunity should be thoroughly revised. Reforms aiming at modernising the public administration are underway. However, legislation concerning access to public information has not yet been adopted; comprehensive and precise legal rules in this respect should therefore be treated as a matter of priority.
More generally, the report stresses that the vast reforms underway require determined implementation, including through staff training. It is therefore to be welcomed that the fight against corruption is recognised as a priority at the highest political level in the Russian Federation; a Presidential Council and a National Anti-corruption Plan have been established, efforts which need to be complemented with a clear and coherent strategy and a plan of implementation.
GRECO addresses 26 recommendations to the Russian Federation. Above all, GRECO emphasises the need for corruption prevention and transparency in all sectors of public administration. It should also be ensured that civil society makes a significant input to the overall strategies against corruption. GRECO will monitor the implementation of the recommendations during the second half of 2010, through its specific compliance procedure.