Russia’s lower house of parliament on Wednesday voted in favour on a bill that will lift the requirement for lawmakers to make their annual income and assets reports public, in a move that will significantly decrease transparency.
According to a statement on the website of the State Duma, after March 1 publicly available information about Russian lawmakers’ income declarations will not make it possible to identify them.
Lawmakers will still be obliged to submit their declarations to the tax authorities every year and a “summary” will be released based on this information.
“This is about the protection of personal data,” one lawmaker, Pavel Krasheninnikov, was quoted as saying on the Duma website.
The bill was approved in its third and final readings.
It must still be approved by the upper house Federation Council and signed into law by President Vladimir Putin — usually a formality.
“De facto, we are returning to the Soviet model of fighting corruption, which should only involve law enforcement,” political scientist Alexei Makarkin told the Kommersant daily on Monday.
In December last year, Putin issued a decree waiving the requirement for officials to declare income and assets for the duration of Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine.
Transparency International ranked Russia 136 out of 180 in its corruption perceptions index for 2021.