Fighting Corruption in Russia
Widespread corruption is commonly acknowledged as one of Russia’s most acute problems, and a majorobstacle to the country’s social and economic development. Since the very start of his term in office,President Dmitry Medvedev has prioritized the fight against corruption in his modernization agenda. In July2008, he presented aNational Anti-Corruption Plan,which was complemented in April 2010 by acomprehensiveNational Strategy for Countering Corruption.Both documents, which combine a set ofcorrective and preventive measures, provide a concrete roadmap to tackle a phenomenon which Medvedevdescribed as “
a threat to the country’s social stability and national security
• Adhering to international standards
: One of the main objectives linked to the adoption of officialdocuments such as the National Plan and the National Strategy is to establish a formal set of measuresagainst which Russia’s actions to tackle corruption can be accurately identified and assessed. This isrecommended by the Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption(GRECO)and should serve as asignal to foreign businesses and investors that Russia is determined to adhere to international standards ofpublic administration and corporate governance.
• Combining sanction and prevention
: Russia’s approach to the fight against corruption comprises anumber of measures aimed at tightening sanctions against corrupt behavior, but also at reducing theincentives for such behavior in the first place. Such measures include in particular the development of e-government services, which will improve Russian citizens’ access to information while streamliningadministrative procedures.
• Involving civil society:
Beyond the introduction of more efficient sanctions and deterrents, the NationalPlan and Strategy also pursue the broader goal of shifting the Russian public’s general mindset and attitudetoward corruption, from acceptance and resignation to the perception that corruption is an intolerablesocial evil. “
[W]hat is much more important than policy concepts, than documents, than even those lawsthat have been adopted…is the overall state of affairs, the attitudes to this phenomenon in our country,in the government, among the bureaucracy and among ordinary people,
President Medvedevsaidin Aprilthis year. For this purpose, the strategy insists on the need to involve civil society in various anti-corruptioninitiatives, in particular through the use of the media.•
Aiming for long-term results
: As President Medvedevnoted in 2009, corruption in Russia has
“a systemicnature, deep historic roots.”
This is why it will take time before significant results, which require changesin the fundamental attitudes of Russian society, can be felt.
“I don't think we can achieve tangible resultsin one year or two. If I am a realist we could get good results in 15,"
the president said.