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Ten steps to fight corruption

by Sergei Mitrokhin

Sergei Mitrokhins blog at the Echo Moskvi web-site
June 22, 2011

The issue of todays radio programme People Are Against has been whether it is possible to knockdown corruption in Russia?

My answer is: yes, it is, and the key condition here is the WILL OF THE TOP OFFICIAL OF THE STATE.
After which the following steps can be taken:


1. Creation of a Special Body Under the Top Official.

In Singapore, for example, it is called Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau.

We can conditionally call it the Authorised Agency. It needs large salaries, impeccable reputation of its head and staff. The top official of the state should take up the responsibility for choosing of the staff. And there are no other criteria. This agency will be a staff donor for the law-enforcement bodies.


2. Article Illegal Incomes Should Be Introduced into the Criminal Code.

We should acknowledge illegal incomes a crime, as is required in accordance with Article 20 of the UN Convention Against Corruption.

This Article of the Convention should be signed by Russia, as the Convention implies an outer control for its implementation. The RF Criminal Code should get a new article Illegal Incomes.

AFTER THIS all incomes declarations should be examined.

If the investigation proves that the property and/or way of spending of an official do not correspond to his/her official income, the court will make a sentence here.

However, imprisonment is not a must here, moreover it will be expensive prisons will be full with prisoners convicted on such verdicts. Such people should be punished by a dismissal with their life-long disqualification.

By the way corrupted bureaucrats competing with other will scheme against each other providing information to the investigation.

Such intraspecific competition will be a huge resource in fighting corruption.

We may be retorted that this violates the assumption of innocence. But assumption of innocence can be limited for state officials by law. And it is necessary to do it today.

3. Anticorruption Audit of the Laws

Corrupted officials have been writing our laws for about 15 years (one can simply analyse who drafted most of the law in the State Duma and everything will be clear).

And recently a possibility for stealing has been maximally eased. For example, a privatization programme may be approved by the parliament, i.e. and may not be submitted to the parliament (please see other examples in the Led by Corrupted Legal Consciousness). I can quote about a hundred of such items in our laws I am aware of. But there are thousands of them. We need a special commission for clearing the Augean stables of our law.


4. A Blow on the Oligarchy

Only businesses influencing decision-making by the authorities are flourishing in our oligarchic state.
As a rule the law allows such influence. For example, a state official can own an unlimited number of shares. And automatically he will lobby the interests of corresponding companies. This means that we should prohibit for state officials to own shares. And there should be hundreds of such tough restrictions. WE CAN WIN OVER CORRUPTION IN RUSSIA ONLY WINING OVER THE OLIGARCHY.


5. Raising of salaries for civil servants

Nothing can be done without this.

Low salaries coupled with power make corruption inevitable. A large legal income with a risk to lose it in case of corruption will be a efficient anti-corruption measure.

6. Bribe Provocation

It is practices in many developed countries, but not in Russia.

For example, a group of people are driving in the city violating the traffic rules and offering bribes to police. Such provocation should not lead to arrests, but all those tempted to take a bribe should be dismissed with life-long disqualification. Certainly such provocations should be conducted not only on the roads, they may be conducted in courts so that to discourage judges to take bribes.


7. Officials Personal Responsibility

Violation of the deadlines in the state services provision, demanding of documents not envisaged by law and obviously unlawful refusal to provide a service should be punished quickly and efficiently.

If a state official demands more documents than really needed than he is either interested in this or is professionally unfit. In both cases such a person should be sacked.

Today we can fight against such corruption only in court.

If the law stipulates that a construction permit should be issued within ten days, than in court you can oblige a bureaucrat to give it to you. However, courts decision will come in five months. And it is easier to make an agreement.

There should be an administrative procedure. A special body (Public Prosecutors Office, Ministry of Justice, etc), in case the fact of violation in proved, for the first time fines the bureaucrat and if there is a second violation such a bureaucrat is disqualified.

This body should not investigate complicated cases (such as state expertise), it should examine only such events of corruption, where everything is obvious.

The idea is so obvious that the authorities can not refuse it completely. But they can distort it. Elvira Nabiullinas Economic Ministry has developed a draft law introducing pre-trial appealing. But it envisages that one should appeal to the sate commission created under this state body, i.e. the boss of the bureaucrat who has offended you.


8. Electronic Interaction between Civil Servants

It is necessary to prohibit for the bureaucrats to demands from the citizens the documents that the state body can inquire in other bodies and agencies. Less documents less bribes. Looked like the authorities began this reform, they even adopted a law. But it was revoked without coming into force.


9. Transparency of Natural Monopolies and the Housing and Utilities Sector

A large part of corruption prone market is here.

Tariffs starting from Gazprom have no justification. On paper monopolies, management bodies and other monopolists have no profits they simply exaggerate their expenditures.

Monopolies should be deprived of the immunity given by the law on commercial secrets.

All of them should be obliged to publish their full statements of account in the Internet. There should be mass-scale audits of management organisations when their statements should be checked as of citizens payments to them.

10. Democracy

Division and mutual control of the authorities represents a comprehensive condition for anticorruption fight.

All the aforementioned measures should be accompanied by a large step from authoritarian rule to democracy which should naturally begin from fair elections.

Not only bureaucracy and large business but also other social layers should be represented in the parliament. Then the parliament will reflect the interests of the society rather than corrupted bureaucrats.

Why is this step connected with all the previous steps?

If it is the sole measure, than it will be the best present for the oligarchs. Corruption will immediately distort the democracy and under its slogan will feel even better.


See also:

The original publication

YABLOKO Against Corruption



June 22, 2011

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