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Working paper

Anti-Corruption Compliance of Development Assistance Donor Organisations: The Case of Russia

International Relations. WP BRP / IR. НИУ ВШЭ, 2016. No. WP BRP 28/IR/2016 .
Шенфельдт А. А.
The article sheds light on the scope of transparency in the Russian Official Development Assistance (ODA) and anti-corruption compliance that has been forged by Russian authorities in the field of international development aid. Analysis of official documents, reports and available statistical sources shows quite poor performance of the Russian Federation, especially with regard to the international standards on open aid data and OECD members’ experience.  First, the article lays out the evolution of transparency and accountability standards in international development assistance and highlights the best practices in forging anti-corruption compliance of leading donor organizations and countries. Though it cannot be said with certainty that the level of corruption globally in development aid has diminished, it is obvious that major OECD donor organizations have improved their integrity and managed to render their aid transparent.  This research has been focused on Russian development assistance. Analysis of published information on Russian ODA such as reports by the Ministry of Finance, web-sites of the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Rossotrudnichestvo, Concepts on ODA and other published documents showed that apart from procurement mechanisms, Russian authorities have not still forged anti-corruption compliance of its agencies in the filed of international development assistance. Moreover, Russia does not account for its ODA in a sufficient manner. First, the reports of the entitled authorities published on the official websites do not present precise information on Russian projects in development assistance. Though some information is publicly available, it is rather difficult to access to it as it is dispersed across various sources. Second, the functions on ODA are divided among agencies which makes the accountability process more complex. Third, Russia does not meet international standards outlined by the Busan Partnership on enhancing transparency in development aid: Russia does not report neither to the DAC Creditor Reporting System, nor to Forward Spending Survey, nor to the International Aid Transparency Initiative. Though the failure to publish detailed data stem from the lack of institutional capacity of the system of Russian development aid, still more transparency and accountability should be enhanced to enable civil society and scholars to contribute to the development of Russian aid.  The paper concludes with recommendations to Russian responsible authorities on how to make Russian development assistance transparent.