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Russian lawmakers adopt in first reading bill exempting officials from punishment for ‘accidental corruption’

The Russian State Duma has adopted in the first reading two draft laws exempting government officials, judges, lawmakers, and employees of state-owned companies from punishment in the event that they violate anti-corruption laws “accidentally.” 

The first bill says that government officials can avoid being held accountable for non-compliance with anti-corruption restrictions, prohibitions, and requirements, if the violation was “the result of circumstances beyond their control.” 

This is defined as “extraordinary and unavoidable circumstances” that are “beyond the control” of the civil servant in question, and which couldn’t have been anticipated, avoided, or overcome, the bill says. Such circumstances include natural disasters, fires, epidemics, strikes, military operations, and terrorist acts, as well as prohibitions and restrictions adopted by state bodies and local governments. 

That said, the civil servant in question must comply with anti-corruption restrictions, prohibitions, and requirements within one month after the “effect of these circumstances” has ceased.

The second bill proposes expanding the exemption from punishment for “accidental corruption” to encompass the employees of state-owned companies, public legal companies, the Pension Fund, the Social Insurance Fund, and the Mandatory Health Insurance Fund, as well as the employees of state extra-budgetary funds and organizations created “to perform tasks delivered to federal government bodies.”

As an example of “accidental corruption” committed due to circumstances beyond an official’s control, the State Duma named filing an income tax return after the required deadline.

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