Vladimir Putin has signed a decree freeing all Russian officials from the obligation to make their income declarations public for the duration of the so-called “special military operation” in Ukraine. The same applies to military personnel and security officials, and to everyone who was previously obliged to reveal their income declarations to the public. Some government employees are now even exempt from submitting such declarations to the regulatory authorities.
The new decree effectively refers to two groups of state employees: those who don’t need to submit the declaration at all, and those who need to report their income, but don’t have to make the declaration public.
The following government employees now don’t have to report their income to the authorities:
- military personnel;
- employees of Russian internal affairs agencies, those serving in the Russian National Guard and those who have special police ranks;
- employees of Russia’s criminal executive system and the Investigative Committee, who are taking part (or took part) in the “special military operation” and carried out tasks related to it in the Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions, and Ukraine in general;
- persons assigned (dispatched) to perform tasks in the territories of the “LPR” and “DPR”, the Zaporizhzhia region, the Kherson region, and Ukraine, who hold positions that require the submission of reports on income, expenses and property (including spouses and underage children);
- all of the above, if their participation in the “special military operation” and related tasks is planned;
- all those who hold “other positions not on the list,” where they are not required to file declarations, but are applying for positions where they are required.
The following officials now don’t have to publish income declarations:
All of them.
Ilya Shumanov, director of Transparency International Russia, told The Insider: “Imagine, the head of some Kherson 'administration' or military commander, or [head of Chechnya] Ramzan Kadyrov no longer has to declare his income or assets – because he's on a mission.”
A wide range of people can, in principle, take advantage of the decree by going to the “special operation zone” even for a short period of time.
“Some may break through the list, as ‘other positions not on the list’ are mentioned. This is unlikely to apply to [State Duma] deputies, but it might cover a number of officials nonetheless. I think that everything will depend on the interpretation, how [the authorities] will interpret [the decree] in favor of individual officials instead of the public interest,” Shumanov said.
Ban on officials and military “receiving gifts” in occupied Ukraine lifted
The decree also removes the restriction on receiving gifts of a “charitable nature” for anyone who receives them in connection with taking part in the so-called “special military operation.” The lifted restriction applies to all those listed above. The move effectively allows members of the Russian military and government officials to take anything they want in the occupied territories with impunity.
“Theoretically, a car seized from a local resident in occupied territory can be classified as this type of gift. No one’s going to specify what kind of gift is ‘charitable and humanitarian.’ Given one has the willingness and skill, this extends the scope of corruption. For example, locals can give you money, gold, or a car as ‘humanitarian aid.’ Anything can be dressed up as ‘humanitarian aid,’» Shumanov explained.