March 28, 2023

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A new law has been adopted by the Russian parliament that obliges those who are running for office to provide information regarding their digital asset holdings. The law will make amendments to a number of acts and will be applicable to both parliamentary and presidential candidates, along with government officials. Members of the lower house of the Russian parliament i.e. the State Duma have given their approval for this law that will require all election participants to declare their crypto assets. Under the law, the running candidates would have to disclose data regarding their spending, along with their acquisition of digital currency and digital financial assets.

Reports on Wednesday indicated that the new law would bring a number of changes to existing laws. This includes the laws on the election of the deputies in the State Duma, the upper house of parliament, the members of the Federation Council and the president of Russia. Other laws that would also be impacted include the ones implemented for combating corruption and those that govern the formation of political parties. Not only will the election candidates be required to disclose their financial information, but their spouses and children would also have to do the same.

They would be required to declare every transaction, which is related to the purchase of cryptocurrencies, and has occurred in the last three years. This would be required if the amount used for purchasing is higher than the total income the family has earned in the three years before the purchase. Furthermore, they would also be required to disclose the source of funds they use for making these transactions. The report also noted that the new law would go into effect ten days after it is published. The adoption of this law comes after another one had been passed back in February, which gave the Russian state the authority to seize funds and digital assets from officials that have been illegally obtained.

These amendments to the legislation come after Russian President Vladimir Putin had ordered last year to check the crypto holdings of officials. The Central Bank of Russia (CBR) and a number of ministries had been given the responsibility of verifying the information that government officials had provided on their income declarations. A new plan is under implementation by the federal government in Moscow for combating corruption amongst officials. An order was signed by the Russian president in 2020 that compelled candidates for public office and government employees to declare their crypto assets.

Due to increasing sanctions over the military operation in Ukraine, Russia has focused more on regulating its crypto industry. In January, the CBR had proposed a ban on crypto, but the situation changed in light of the sanctions. Now, statements have revealed that Russia may use crypto for restoring its access to the global financial system. A new draft law was submitted by the Russian Finance Ministry in February named ‘On Digital Currency’ and it is aimed at legalizing crypto operations rather than banning them.

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