The Council of Europe's Group of States against Corruption (GRECO
In its report GRECO warned that the existing legislation pertaining to political finances was overly complex, subject to frequent amendments and created the potential for divergent interpretation and application. The Group was particularly concerned by the alleged existence of important financial flows falling outside the regulated area and by the apparently widespread misuse of public authority in favour of certain candidates in elections.
The measures taken in 2011 to bring the national legal framework into line with Council of Europe standards were welcome, but more needed to be done to complete and clarify them, said GRECO. Provisions on public sector bribery must be expanded to cover non-material gain; private sector bribery and trading in influence were not fully addressed and improvements were needed on statutes of limitation.
GRECO noted ongoing reforms aimed at the liberalisation of the political climate in the Russian Federation. While admitting that many of the legislative provisions on political financing as such were in line with the Council of Europe standards, the Group recommended a more stringent enforcement of the existing laws, strengthening of the independence and effectiveness of supervisory bodies and widening the range of sanctions applicable to violations of political financing rules.
GRECO will assess the action taken by the Russian Federation in response to the report at the end of 2013.