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AMBASSADOR'S ARTICLES

23.12.2013

Ambassador's Notebook: Combating Corruption Requires International Cooperation (by Alexander Yakovenko, Russian Ambassador to UK, for RIA Novosti)

December 9 was International Anti-Corruption Day. Ironically, it coincided
with news of an ongoing investigation into a corrupt scheme that was
reportedly used to fix football matches in the UK, demonstrating that this
evil knows no boundaries. One of Russia's priorities during its G20
presidency is combating corruption, including in sports. We proposed a
Global Alliance for Clean Sports during the G20 summit in Saint Petersburg
in September, an idea supported by the leaders of the G20. What we have in
mind is an "umbrella platform" to combine numerous anti-corruption projects
in sports currently implemented by various countries, as well as by sports
governing bodies and other international organizations. We expect that the
creation of such a mechanism will make it possible to ensure effective
coordination of relevant efforts and will contribute significantly to the
elimination of corruption in sports.

Other initiatives promoted by the G20 are: a study of the impact of
corruption and anti-corruption measures on economic growth; guiding
principles on mutual legal assistance in corruption cases; an analysis of
corruption risks during the preparation and holding of major sporting
events; a report on possible ways to counter corruption in selling
state-owned property; a comparative analysis of anti-corruption training
courses for public servants in G20 countries; and a document on the
Strategic Framework for the G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group, which
outlines its long-term goals and principles.

More broadly, we believe that international anti-corruption cooperation
should be conducted with a central coordinating role for the UN and on the
basis of the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), a unique global
agreement providing for a wide range of measures to address corruption.
Russia stands for a comprehensive strengthening of the regime established by
the Convention and for ensuring compliance by all participating states. The
advantages of the UNCAC review mechanism, namely its intergovernmental,
non-politicized and non-intrusive character, must be used in full.

For the Russian Federation, eradicating corruption is a national policy
priority, a prerequisite for the country's successful development.
Anti-corruption activities in Russia are based on a national action plan and
a solid legal framework that is constantly improving. Control over civil
servants' major expenses and the public procurement rules are just two
examples of recent measures. It's essential to ensure the inevitability of
punishment for corruption-related crimes. Charges have been brought against
3,500 persons just this year.

However it is impossible to overcome corruption through administrative and
law enforcement measures only. It is necessary to work towards removing its
economic drivers, increasing people's legal awareness, and fostering a
culture of zero-tolerance of corruption in society. Much depends on the
stance of media, educational institutions and civil society. We see civil
society as our key ally in combating corruption and we take specific steps
to strengthen this partnership.

Another key partner is the business community. Russia has adopted the
Anti-Corruption Charter of Russian Business that Russian companies and
business associations actively use as a guide. We are convinced that
public-private partnerships in combating corruption should be among the
priorities of work in this area.

Russia's progress in its fight against corruption has been acknowledged by
the international community. In 2012, Russia successfully passed the UNCAC
review procedure and, in 2013, that of the Organization for Economic
Co-operation and Development. In the annual Doing Business Report of the
World Bank, Russia climbed 18 positions in comparison with the previous
year.

But we are far from complacent and still have a great deal to do. We must
take robust and consistent action in all areas to fight corruption. The UK's
experiences as well as the UK's problems are an important source of
knowledge. We count on fruitful constructive and de-politicized co-operation
with our British partners.




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