State Duma to ratchet up punishment for corrupt officials

State Duma to ratchet up punishment for corrupt officials
State Duma deputies plan to step up anti-corruption legislation

The new bill is aimed at combating nepotism and non-material bribes.⁠

The State Duma's Committee for Security and Combating Corruption prepared a number of amendments to the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, which step up the punishment for corruption. Amendments are introduced in the articles of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, which relate to the Abuse of Power (Article 202), Commercial Bribery (Article 204), Giving and Taking Bribes (Article 290 and Article 291). If adopted, corrupt officials can receive up to four years in prison (according to the current legislation, the bribe-giver faces up to two years, and the bribe taker up to three years of imprisonment). Thus, corruption will fall into the category of crimes of medium gravity, and the limitation period for these crimes will increase from two to six years. This is reported by Izvestia.

In addition, the Committee proposes to introduce such concepts as "non-property benefits", "non-property services" and "non-property rights and other undue benefits". Thus, the deputies plan to struggle with nepotism and employment of relatives of officials to profitable posts in business structures. Also, parliamentarians plan to criminalize arbitration judges for abuse of power - for up to three years of imprisonment.

At the moment, only money, property and services, which value can be determined, are deemed a bribe. The new amendments will bring Russian criminal legislation closer to the international one, which is required from Russia in connection with the ratification of three conventions: the UN, the Council of Europe and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The amendments were recommended by the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO).

Member of GRECO, deputy head of the Office for Supervision over the Implementation of Anti-Corruption Legislation of the Prosecutor General's Office Aslan Yusufov expressed full support on behalf of the agency for the proposed changes in the legislation. According to him, thanks to the amendments, it will be possible to punish officials who receive bribes that do not have a market price.

The bill has already been approved by the Supreme Court, the government commission on legislative activity and the expert council of the United Russia faction.

However, a number of experts express concern about the amendments. In particular, the question arises, how law enforcement will determine non-property services. Specialists express fears that any interaction of an official with citizens can be considered a "bribe".

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