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Can “Force Majeure” Be A Justification for Corruption? Russia Believes So

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In late January of this year, the Russian Justice Ministry proposed draft legislation that would legalize corruption. More specifically, the proposal, which implements one of the recommendations of Putin’s 2018-2020 Anti-Corruption Plan, would decriminalize corruption “when non-compliance with prohibitions, restrictions, and requirements established in order to combat corruption… is due to force majeure”—that is, when circumstances beyond the official’s control make corruption unavoidable. Or, as the Russian government puts it, “In certain circumstances, the observance of restrictions and prohibitions, requirements to prevent or resolve conflicts of interest, and the fulfillment of duties established in order to combat corruption are not possible for objective reasons.” The proposed legislation would create a commission to “assess the objectivity of circumstances” to determine if compliance was possible. (Suite).

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