Russian President Vladimir Putin Monday introduced a bill in the Duma, the lower house of Russia’s Parliament, to withdraw from the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption. Russia ratified the convention on January 27, 1999. The convention aims to coordinate criminalization of a large number of corrupt practices and is implemented by Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) members, which is a Council of Europe anti-corruption body.
According to the bill, the decision comes amidst the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe’s decision to terminate Russia’s voting rights in GRECO. The Council of Europe revoked Russia’s membership in GRECO, except for instances where GRECO monitors Russia’s performance of obligations under the convention. The council also denied Russia the right to participate in the discussion or adoption of reports.
Russia’s bill reads:
Given that such conditions are unacceptable to the Russian Federation, and also to prevent discriminatory treatment of the Russian Federation within the evaluative framework of GRECO, it is proposed to denounce the convention and terminate [Russia’s] membership in GRECO.
Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated that the contents of the bill will not negatively affect international cooperation, nor will it weaken the fight against corruption within Russia.
Russian participation in global organizations, agreements and initiatives started to decline after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. The Council of Europe revoked Russia’s membership in March 2022. The UN General Assembly then revoked Russia’s right to participate in the UN Human Rights Council in April 2022. Russia also departed from the European Convention on Human Rights in September 2022.