Leftists propose canceling statute of limitation for corruption crimes in Russia

© Iliya Pitalev
Lawmakers representing the center-left party Fair Russia have prepared a bill that would cancel the statute of limitations for a broad range of corruption crimes, including wasting state funds and the unlawful instigation of criminal cases.

The draft prepared jointly by the head of Fair Russia, Sergey Mironov, and lower house MP Oleg Mikheyev proposes to fully cancel the use of statute of limitation in cases involving bribery, graft and abuse of office as well as misuse of state funds, knowingly submitting tainted data to state registers and forgery of official documents. Illegal instigation or stopping of criminal cases and forgery of evidence in criminal procedure also fall under the definition of corruption crimes in the new document.

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Commenting on the motion, Mironov said it was a continuation of the party’s anti-corruption drive manifested in a previously submitted bill that canceled suspended sentences for those convicted of corruption crimes.

He also added that the move would enforce one of the major principles of justice – the inevitability of punishment.

On what grounds should a person who abuses his or her position, takes bribes and wastes government money be freed from responsibility? Especially under crisis conditions when the state and its citizens are living in conditions of austerity,” TASS quoted Mironov as saying.

Russia reformed its anti-corruption laws in 2011 by introducing proportional fines for bribery on the initiative of then-President Dmitry Medvedev, as part of a pro-business liberalization drive. However, after returning to the presidency and analyzing the situation, Vladimir Putin criticized the move as ineffective and ordered various federal ministries to draft suggestions and plans to tackle the situation.

In April 2014, the president approved a nationwide anti-corruption program and in December of the same year Putin himself drafted a new anti-corruption bill, proposing that correctional labor be used as punishment and a decrease in the amount of fines for minor offenses.

In addition, in August 2015 the Russian government approved a legal amendment that, once passed, would allow Russian law enforcers to open administrative cases against foreign bribe-givers, when that bribery damages the interests of the Russian Federation as a state.

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In May this year the Russian president drafted a bill introducing substantial fines or up to four years in prison for anyone acting as a middleman in commercial graft. At the same time punishment would be softer for first-time offenders convicted of graft and bribery.