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Russia Ready to Withdraw from European Convention on Fighting Corruption

By Vusala Abbasova January 9, 2023

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The Council of Europe, an international organization that focuses on the promotion of democracy and human rights, suspended Russia’s participation in March, 2022, shortly after Russia launched what it calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine on February 24, 2022.

Russia is gearing up to end its participation in the European Convention on fighting corruption in response to the decision to restrict Moscow’s participation in the Council of Europe (CoE).

On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin submitted a bill to the State Duma — the lower house of the Russian Parliament — to denounce the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption signed in the city of Strasbourg on January 27, 1999. Yet, details of the date for a vote on termination have not been disclosed, but it’s expected to come soon.

In his letter to the State Duma, Putin argued that the withdrawal was the result of the Council’s decision to restrict Moscow’s participation in the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO), which was charged with overseeing general compliance with the convention. As a result, Russia is deprived of the right to vote and the right to participate in the discussion of reports or their adoption. This is something President Putin called “unacceptable” and “discriminatory.”

The Council of Europe, an international organization that focuses on the promotion of democracy and human rights, suspended Russia’s participation in March, 2022, shortly after Russia launched what it calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine on February 24, 2022. Russia ceased to be a Party to the European Convention on Human Rights on 16 September 2022.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov clarified that the convention's denunciation would not undermine Russia's fight against corruption, including the mutual extradition of suspects and those accused of crimes related to it.

“There may be certain difficulties here, you know that this is due to a common line with the Council of Europe and so on. This (denunciation of the convention) in no way undermines, let's say, our legislative potential, I mean the internal potential of the fight against corruption,” Peskov told reporters.

The Council of Europe brings together 47 European countries and was created to promote democracy, protect human rights and strengthen the rule of law in Europe. Russia was a member of the Council of Europe from 1996 to 2022.