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Russia takes small steps to fight judicial graft

Although judges in Russia are generally immune from criminal prosecution, the law allows their prosecution for bribery. And each year, the Investigation Committee of the Russian Federation opens multiple criminal investigations against judges for alleged bribe taking, with some cases resulting in convictions and punishment.

On May 25 this year, a court in Kirov found Ivan Menko guilty of bribery. Menko was a judge of Arbitrazh court of Yaroslavl region (a state court resolving commercial disputes).

The Investigation Committee found evidence that in 2013 and 2014 he agreed to take bribes of about $60,000 in exchange for decisions that helped the bribe payers. A court sentenced Menko to six-and-a-hlaf years in prison and fined him about $71,000.

In another recent case, on June 4, the court in Stavropol region found Alexander Chernousov guilty of bribery. He was a justice of the peace.

In 2013, he heard a case against a drunk driver. Before the trial, a son of the violator paid about $3,700 so that Chernousov would find in favor of the driver and not deprive him of a driving licenses.

Chernousov was jailed for 5 years and fined about $103,000.

Judicial corruption has been a big problem in Russia. But these cases and others like them demonstrate at least an attempt by authorities to clean up the courts.


Kristina Furlet serves as compliance specialist in a Russian subsidiary of a global provider of telecom services.

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1 Comment

  1. It would be interesting to find out what factors in these two particular cases facilitated prosecution. Were these judges simply careless in their approach to taking bribes, creating situations that could not be swept under the rug? Alternatively, are improvements in the Kirov and Stavropol governments responsible for this "progress," and if that's the case, can these improvements be replicated? Of course, there's also the possiblity that these two judges simply managed to anger people who are more powerful, in which case this wouldn't be a sign of progress at all.

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