The Anti-corruption Expert's Estimation of the Draft Federal Budget Is Completed

On 22 September 2014, the anti-corruption expert's estimation of a draft of the Federal Law 'On the Federal Budget for 2015 and the Planning Period 2016 - 2017' was completed; the text of the draft law itself was posted a week earlier to the Single Portal for the publication of information on the elaboration, by federal bodies of state executive authority, of drafts of normative legal acts and the results of their public discussion at

The authors of the draft federal budget cut by 20% (to 12), by comparison with last year's budget, the number of corruption factors relating to the definition of competence formalized as 'having the right to' (in accordance with The Rules for the Conduct of Anti-corruption Expert's Estimation of Normative Legal Acts and Drafts of Normative Legal Acts approved by Decree of the RF Government of 26 February 2010, No 96).

However, this improvement of the situation with formal indices cannot counterbalance the effects of the ongoing destruction of transparency of the RF budget – the share of classified expenditure items is increasing from 16.4% in the current federal budget (as approved by Federal Law No 201-FZ of 28 June 2014) to 19.2% in 2015, 22,4% in 2016, and 25.4% in 2017. Although these values are approximately 2 pp. below the targets set a year ago, they are no good news.

As before, the share of classified expenditure items in the RF budget is by more than one order bigger than the corresponding government finance indices for the developing countries, although the continuing practice of classifying part of federal budget expenditure explicitly contradicts Article 5 of the Federal Law 'On State Secrets', which stipulated that classified expenditure items are allowed only 'in the field of intelligence activities, counterintelligence activities, and operative investigative activities, as well as in the field of action to counter terrorism'.

In this country it can hardly be expected that if classified expenditures have to do in the main with government defense orders (GDO), this is a guarantee for money safekeeping. Indeed, we will become even more ignorant of the goings-on in that sphere after the liquidation of the Federal Service for Defense Contracts (Rosoboronzakaz). However, the data recently released by the still existing Federal Service of Financial and Budgetary Supervision
(Rosfinnadzor) concerning violations committed in 2013 by the RF Ministry of Defense in the use of federal budget funds to the value of Rb 964bn and data released by the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation of failures of suppliers to fulfill their obligations to the Ministry to the value of Rb 92bn (under only 6 contracts out of the total number of 90 contracts outstanding as of 1 January 2014) are sufficient to give one a general idea of the scale of its expenditure.

In connection with the recently completed anti-corruption expert's estimation it should also be noted that, for a seventh year in a row, the budget makers have failed to comply with Article 36 of the RF Budget Code, as neither the text of the new draft budget law nor in the numerous annexes thereto one can find actual budget execution and allocation data for a given year set against targets for the next budget year and planning period. By all indications, low budget transparency is not considered to be a corruption-triggering factor in Russia.

Vasily Zatsepin Candidate of Military Sciences, Head of the Economics of the Military-Industrial Sector Department