Transparency International, a non-governmental anti-corruption organization in Berlin, classifies Russia as one of the most corrupt nations in the world. The organization defines corruption explicitly: “The abuse of entrusted power for private gain.” Transparency International’s 2010 Corruption Perception Index, an assessment administrated by independent institutions on corruption in the public sector, ranked Russia 154<SUP>th</SUP> out of 178 nations, below Iran, Kenya, Cambodia, and Pakistan. The CPI measures corruption in the following way:
The surveys and assessments used to compile the index include questions relating to bribery of public officials, kickbacks in public procurement, embezzlement of public funds, and questions that probe the strength and effectiveness of public sector anti-corruption efforts…It captures information about the administrative and political aspects of corruption.
In response to global distrust, the Anti-Corruption Council meeting on January 13, chaired by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, outlined Russia’s emphatic difficulties with bureaucracy. The President sketched out a plan for reform, while emphasizing the need for civilian cooperation in all anti-corruption initiatives.
Medvedev’s plan involves a fine for bribery convictions equaling to 100 times the amount of the bribe. He also discussed an audit on the accuracy and thoroughness of government officials’ income declarations, to catch false information and discrepant accounting practices. “If someone has purposely underestimated their declared capital,” the President said, “This has to be punished.”
At least Medvedev concedes there is a problem, as he stated to the Anti-Corruption Council, “You know the situation well. Let’s admit that there are very few successes in this direction.” The question is whether or not he will follow through with effective reform. Skeptics have valid concerns, considering the countries’ authoritarian history and the hollow promises from Russian political leaders over the last several years.
Though more favorable to past decades, post-Soviet Russia is still plagued with a corporatist culture of corruption, where every day business life consists of backstreet dealing and political pyramid schemes. Corruption is so turbulent that according to the Indem think tank, corrupt government officials and businesses rake in $300 billion annually. Furthermore, Konstantin Chuichenko, head of the presidential financial oversight administration, said in late 2010 that corruption costs Russia 2.9 percent of GDP every year, with state procurement programs alone costing $33 billion.
Read more at The Corporatist Culture of Corruption | Brian Koenig