On February 1, 2007, Russia became a member of the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO). GRECO monitors the compliance by its members with the Council of Europe’s anti-corruption standards through a process of mutual evaluation and peer pressure, helping to identify deficiencies in national anti-corruption policies, prompting the necessary legislative, institutional and practical reforms.

By July 2010, it had already been reported that Russia had fallen short of more than 50% of the uniquely tailored 26 anti-corruption recommendations that it had so jubilantly (and perhaps optimistically) assumed with its membership. This report was finalized and released in December 2010.

The recent December report confirms that to date Russia has carried out only nine of the 26 recommendations, which include establishing an anti-corruption strategy, improving law enforcement coordination and the recruitment of prosecutors, ethics training and establishing guidelines for tax authorities. The remainder were either not carried out at all or considered partially implemented.

While GRECO stressed that a large majority of the recommendations need further action, particularly the criminal immunity of public officials and the independence of the judiciary, it was pleased that:

“the Russian authorities have addressed a large majority of the recommendations even if only just over a third of them could be considered as implemented in full.”

Despite being pleased, GRECO concluded that “a rather strong repressive approach to the fight against corruption” prevails in Russia. To that end, the report calls for the anti-corruption training of law enforcement authorities, prosecution authorities, employees of the civil service and public employees in all fields of public administration.

Mutual evaluations and peer reviews can be effective mechanisms for bringing country-specific corruption infractions to the fore and Russia may face additional criticism from its GRECO peers for failing to implement all of the recommendations; however, there are no tangible repercussions that actually force Russia to get its anti-corruption strategy in line with international standards.

Nevertheless, Russia has been invited to submit additional information regarding the implementation of the recommendations by June 30, 2012…

Other recent GRECO reports include: Montenegro, Portugal, Serbia, Azerbaijan and Bulgaria. They can be found here.