They protect whistleblowers, we fight snitches

Александра Коваль Александра Коваль Chief of Club Russia-OECD published in Fighting corruption
They protect whistleblowers, we fight snitches

On June 18 2019 newspaper Vedomosti reported that the law on Whistleblowers Protection, already adopted in the first reading, will be rejected by the State Duma.

In result, the State Duma Committee on security and anti-corruption, which previously stood for the rejection of the draft law, stated that on the 5th of December 2018, the government submitted to the State Duma a set of bills aiming for comprehensive improvement of anti-corruption legislation. Interestingly, part of those provisions addresses issues of the bill, which was intended to be rejected.

The draft law, elaborated by the Ministry of labour and submitted by the Government of the Russian Federation to the State Duma in October 2017, granted for measures to protect people who informed the employer, the Prosecutor's office or other state bodies about corruption offenses committed in state organs, local governments or organizations.

The bill envisages the inclusion of provisions, in the Federal law "On combating corruption", defining the rights and mechanisms of protection of persons who have notified of corruption offenses. Those provisions include the protection against unjustified dismissal within 2 years from the date of registration of the notification of corruption offense and will also ensure the confidentiality of the information contained in the statement of corruption, etc.

In an explanatory note to the draft law, it was intended that by acceding to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions, Russia has undertaken the duty to provide guarantees at the legislative level for the protection of people who have reported or will report corruption offences.

Apparently, these obligations will not be fulfilled in the near future.

Indeed, the OECD believes that an effective whistleblower protection system is the key to effectively fighting corruption.

OECD considers the adoption of a special law in countries to protect the rights of whistleblowers to be a positive step. A number of OECD countries (Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Slovakia, and the UK) have adopted a special law on the protection of whistleblowers.

Today in Russia, only general bases for the protection of participants in the criminal process have been created. However, they apply only to those who have notified law enforcement agencies of a corruption crime - but those who have reported corruption offences remain without state protection.

Just for your information: according to data for 2018, Russia is ranks138th out of 180 places in the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). It is unlikely that this situation will change if Russia does not take decisive steps to combat corruption, including in terms of protecting whistleblowers

Translation by: Boryana Kiskinova