As per a new legislation in Russia that will be put into effect from January 2021 onwards, all public officials in the country would be required to disclose all their respective private cryptocurrency holdings. On October 20th, 2020, the office of Igor Krasnov, who is the Prosecutor General of Russia, announced these requirements. This was declared after a meeting was conducted with 15 other prosecutor generals. These 15 represented member states of the SCO i.e. the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. According to Krasnov, all Russian civil servants would be mandated to declare their respective crypto holdings and would do so in the same way as their other assets. He also disclosed that this would happen from next year onwards.
This seems to be a major change because back in 2018, the complete opposite had been announced by the Labor Ministry of Russia. According to them, public officials were not required to declare their respective virtual currency holdings when submitting their tax reports. However, it is possible that this had been declared because at that time, crypto had mostly been unregulated in the country. Since then, it has come to light that it is very much possible to use crypto assets for malicious intents quite easily, which include bribery and corruption.
Within a time span of three years, it is claimed that that the Prosecutor General’s office in Russia seized undisclosed crypto holdings belonging to public officials that were worth a whopping $440 million. These mandates are being introduced after new laws were signed by the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin in July in which crypto assets were classified in the same way as physical commodities. Once again, this classification will be put into effect from January 2021 and it would mark the country’s first official recognition of virtual currencies altogether.
However, cryptocurrencies will not be recognized as legal tender by the legislation. Even so, it will be the first time that crypto-related activities will be legitimized across Russia in its history. China, Russia, India, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan are all members of the SCO and they were also joined by observers and non-members of the organization. These included Iran, Armenia, Cambodia, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Mongolia, and Afghanistan and all of them observed the gathering, which was primarily focused on combating corruption. As the Russian government has announced these laws for crypto regulation, it also added that similar laws may also be enacted in the Eurasian region in the foreseeable future.
The Federal Financial Monitoring Service of Russia had claimed back in August that they had come up with a method for de-anonymizing transactions for specific cryptocurrencies, at least partially. These include the two staples of the industry, Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH), but they also said that they had also managed to do so with Monero (XMR), which is a popular privacy coin. In fact, it was even hinted by the regulator that they are eager to sell their services to other allied nations and said that ‘overseas countries’ had expressed their interest in the system.