EURASIA LIFT

Human Rights Issues in Eurasia / Правовые Вопросы В Регионах Евразии

Corruption in Russia, Part 1: A Normal Part Of Everyday Life

Posted by Info on 28/11/2009

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has made fighting corruption a centerpiece of his presidency. But many Russians don’t believe he’ll make good on his word, saying corruption is central to the way business and politics function. In the first of a three-part series, RFE/RL’s Gregory Feifer reports from Moscow on a culture of corruption that even Medvedev says is threatening Russia’s viability as a state.

Just about every driver in Moscow knows the procedure.

Stopped by the traffic police and threatened with a large fine — or worse, confiscation of your license — you contritely wait for the right moment to negotiate the price of a bribe, usually around $20. “As a driver, I deal with the traffic police all the time. They’re all corrupt. Absolutely every one is a bribe-taker.”

Bribery is an institution in Russia: students pay teachers for better grades, patients pay doctors for health care supposedly provided free by the state, families pay off draft boards to keep their sons out of military service.……

Former First Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov recently published a report about Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov, who he says funnels contracts to his wife, the head of a large construction firm that’s made her Russia’s richest woman.

“In any country in the world — the Czech Republic, Britain, Germany, even Italy,” he says, “it would be cause for a criminal investigation. Those two would be sitting in jail instead of City Hall. But not in Russia.”…more here

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