In further evidence of the rollback of anti-corruption measures and democracy in the Russian Federation, Russia media reports today that the Justice Ministry is moving forward with making ‘unavoidable bribes’ free from criminal prosecution.
Opposition candidate Alexei Navalny has made a career out of shining light on corrupt activities of government officials. It seems this measure may take away one of his weapons against the Putin government.
Putin proposed the measure in an anti-corruption plan signed in June 2018 that called for legislation that would allow officials to escape prosecution for corruption under “exceptional circumstances.” Russia ranks among the world’s most corrupt countries, with Transparency International’s annual corruption perceptions index ranking it in 138th place this year out of 180 countries. The amendments drafted by the Justice Ministry seek to exempt officials from legal accountability when corruption is unavoidable, reported The Moscow Times.
“In certain circumstances, complying with restrictions and bans… to prevent or settle conflicts of interests … is impossible for objective reasons,” the draft bill on the government’s legal portal says.
Perhaps the Kremlin could take some lessons from Bill and Hillary Clinton, who seem to have gotten away with selling influence to foreign governments for hundreds of millions of dollars in contributions to the Clinton Foundation. They didn’t need to change the laws at all…