Despite serious corruption problem, Russia has all the essential bribery prohibitions on the books. That said, Russia anti-bribery norms, unfortunately do not appear in a single document, but rather are scattered across a number of codes and federal laws. Anti-corruption is high on the Russian President and Prime Minister's agenda and there are two prime reasons for this: 1) Russia is planning to join the WTO and in parallel has made a commitment to become a member of the OECD Convention 2) Russian presidential election are looming, anti-corruption campaign on a fail safe strategy to collect popularity points. The Draft Law (with all new prohibitions and penalties) for both domestic and foreign bribery is being considered by the State Duma. The most important question, however, is that even if adopted will it be enforced actively. The answer to the question is more likely NO. 1. The Russian Prosecutor General's Office (PGO) does not have a team large enough to dedicate the necessary man-hours to anti-bribery enforcement. And there is no evidence to suggest that a team (with the requisite expertise) will emerge from the existing enforcement units any time soon. 2. The Russian Government does not have any experience, resources or tools (aside from declaratory intentions) to pursue corruption charges against individuals for bribery outside Russia. It is unlikely that PGO will develop the expertise or adequate instruments in the near future. 3.The Russian Government is simply not interested in a comprehensive effort to combat corruption domestically, because in fighting corruption, the Government will be fighting itself. Admittedly, this argument is susceptible to criticism on the grounds that it smacks of an overgeneralization and, more than anything else, resembles subjective opinion rather than a conclusion founded on solid facts. Nevertheless, it is difficult to deny that corruption is pervasive within the government bureaucracy, as it runs from the top to its very bottom. The Russian Government relies on bureaucracy in running its day-to-day operations. Therefore, for the Government to confront bureaucracy with all its systemic failures and sins will be akin to shooting itself in both legs. 4. Finally, and critically, it will be almost self-defeating for the Russian Government to pursue the policy of prosecuting private parties for paying bribes. If such policy is actively implemented, the message from the private sector will be as follows: If you (the Government) are helpless against the corrupt environment that we (business people) are forced to operate in, at least have the decency to not force us to pay twice for your own failings. The Russian President or Prime Minister cannot disregard the message; if they do, they stand to lose major popular support in the upcoming elections. President Medvedev declared combating corruption a priority for his administration when he was elected in 2008. Three years have passed since his election, and the anti-corruption effort has so far yielded few practical results. Perhaps, the situation will change with the new amendments to Russian anti-bribery norms. However, given the existing obstacles to active enforcement, the new provisions stand to remain as ineffective as the laws on the books today.     

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