News / Europe

Russia Gets Low Marks in Corruption Index

Participants march with flags and placards during an anti-government protest in Moscow
Participants march with flags and placards during an anti-government protest in Moscow
Transparency International has published its annual corruption perception index and Russia ranked near the bottom in the global index.  The annual composite index is compiled through what Transparency International says is a combination of surveys and assessments of corruption, collected by a variety of "reputable institutions."

Countries are scored on a scale of zero to 100, zero being highly corrupt and 100 perceived to be very clean. Denmark, Finland and New Zealand scored 90 and came in tied for first place. Russia scored a 28, ranking 133 out of 176, along with countries such as Kazakhstan, Iran and Honduras. Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia received eight points, coming in last out of 176 countries.

Anton Pominov is research director at Transparency International Russia. He says the former Soviet Union suffers from every form of corruption.

"It's petty corruption, it's administrative corruption; I would say it's like a mid-level corruption and then there's political or grand corruption," Pominov explained.

Russians have been protesting what they call political corruption for the past year in the biggest demonstrations since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Rallies began last December after the ruling party, United Russia, won the country's parliamentary elections. Demonstrators claimed the party won by ballot-stuffing and vote-rigging. Party officials deny the charges.

United Russia's win last year paved the way for then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to win an unprecedented third term as president.

Putin's swap with then-President Dmitry Medvedev caused mass demonstrations. The masses claim that Putin runs the country through a tightly controlled political system and, most importantly, corruption.

For its part, the Kremlin has announced a war on corruption. When Prime Minister Medvedev was president, he vowed to stamp out corruption as part of his modernization effort.

In recent months, there have been repeated announcements of investigations into alleged corruption. Last month, state prosecutors opened an investigation into the country's Defense Ministry for allegedly selling military assets at well below market value. Then-defense minister Anatoly Serdyukov was fired, but prosecutors say they will bring him in for questioning only if they deem it necessary.

Masha Lipman, an analyst with the Carnegie Center in Moscow, says this anti-corruption campaign looks very strange. Lipman notes that with all the corruption cases that the government is opening there is hardly ever a sentence even when the case is clear.

Very often select officials are targeted and investigated for corruption, but very seldom are they convicted.

Pominov, with Transparency International Russia, says the government can open as many investigations into corruption as it wants, but the problem will never be solved unless those who are responsible face justice.

"In order to make people believe that something is changing we need to address impunity," said Pominov.  "If we start investigations on some of the officials and we don't address everyone, this means this is a political decision not an anti-corruption campaign. We need impunity. That means that no matter who you are or which position you are in, this case will be investigated, no matter who you are."

Many analysts and human rights activists have consistently maintained that until the country has a change in leadership, Russia will remain corrupt.

In 2011, Russia ranked 143 out of 176 countries in Transparency International's perceived corruption index.

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Comment Sorting
by: Ettore Greco
December 05, 2012 2:10 PM
Communism and Capitalism have both failed as systems of government because of the same illness: corruption.
In a new and long lasting form of government, Trust can no longer be one of its components. All efforts should be made to form a new type of government with new mechanisms that will not require the element of Trust or the promise of a politician to guarantee that the will of the majority will always be reflected in the laws of that government.
This will be a system that could improve in time the already existing possibility of such government today structured through the use of the Internet.
A new form of Democratic government is Commutalism.
Commutalism is a new concept of Democracy without politicians which is organized through the Internet to balance the needs of the Individual with the Respect for Equality.
Commutalism is structured to provide the necessary goods for the survival of everyone and introduces at the same time a new transparent form of Capitalism to trade all those goods which are not necessary, like in a market open to the competition of all superfluous goods.
For the sake of transparency, this new type of Capitalism would rule that each single transaction must be reported on the Net to become visible by anyone (just like an invoice made public) and taxable at the origin with a fix percentage for everyone.
In such system, all private properties and their owners like also all money transactions and trades of private property must be publicly reported on the Net. This is to prevent unlawful transactions and root out corruption through the immediate confiscation of those goods that have not been reported.
Moreover, to reduce Greed and restore the financial equilibrium worldwide, it will be enough to eliminate the concept of inheritance. The private property of the people will return to the State after the death of each person to be auctioned among all citizens. People could spend as much as they want to educate their children but inheritance and donations would not be allowed.
Once the survival is guaranteed for everybody there will be no need to be as tolerant with crime as we are today when the crime is a consequence of our corrupted system.
In Commutalism, the right to own must be protected and guaranteed also for those who want to work and trade their own Time to obtain more than just the basic necessities provided by the system.

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