One TRILLION rubles

Last week, Transparency International released its annual Corruption Perception Index. Despite President Medvedev’s long battle against corruption, Russia has slipped down the greasy pole of corruption rankings once again to finish the year at 154th out of 178. (Last year, it clocked in at 146). It’s a spot Russia shares with such world leaders, nuclear powers, and fellow G8 members as the Central African Republic, Cambodia, Comoros, Congo-Brazzaville, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Laos, Papua-New Guinea, and Tajikistan. Heck, Libya, Yemen and Haiti did better than Russia.

It seems little wonder then, that Medvedev admitted this summer that the campaign has been a failure.

And today we get more salt in the wound: The head of the Kremlin’s control department, Konstantin Chuichenko has informed the president that, according to the most humble estimates, 1 trillion rubles — or $32 billion — disappears from the system of government tenders annually. That’s 20% of government purchases made in 2010. (If it makes you feel better, it’s only 12.5% of next year’s budget.)

“What does this mean in simple Russian language?” Medvedev asked, before explaining, helpfully, “We can reduce the volume of theft by 1 trillion rubles.” (Thanks, Sherlock.)

“Unlike other countries, we do not have the death penalty for this,” he added. “Though sometimes it is thought to be helpful.”

via Vedomosti

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25 Responses to One TRILLION rubles

  1. Jesse says:

    And isn’t it interesting that the amount of theft hovers around 20% of all state zakupki. Given that the standard otkat rate is around 15-20%, this means that virtually every public purchase is tainted by corruption.

  2. Robert says:

    “Despite President Medvedev’s long battle against corruption, Russia has slipped down the greasy pole of corruption rankings once again to finish the year at 154th out of 178.”

    He’s even not a president (just a front man for Putin), and the whole sentence is like “Despite Al Capone organization’s long battle against crime, there is now more crime in Chicago than before”.

  3. grafomnka says:

    Russia’s corruption perception score
    2003 – 2.7
    2004 – 2.7
    2005 – 2.8
    2006 – 2.4
    2007 -2.5
    2008 – 2.3
    2009 – 2.1
    2010 – 2.1
    Looks like it actually got worse under Medvedev…

  4. I don’t take a rating which implies corruption is worse in Italy than in Saudi Arabia or where Zimbabwe / PR Congo are similar to Belarus, and where Venezuela is more corrupt than Haiti seriously. It is absolutely absurd on many levels.

  5. Anyhow, I don’t wish to belabor the point. Instead: Julia, do you agree that Italy is substantially more corrupt than Saudi Arabia?

  6. grafomanka says:

    The exact rank place is useless – their confidence interval for Belarus is a whole point (from 2.1-3.1) ! They use different number of surveys in different countries. All they can possibly tell us is that Russia is somewhere between 2-3.

  7. voroBey says:

    Oh, my…. Self-proclaimed so called expert “sublime whatever” got offended… Buh-hu…
    His beloved authoritarian Russia is judged “unfairly” in his “expert” opinion. He is the only one who knows the truth. All the other organizations, which have been doing it for years and ranking of which are accepted all over the world, are not good enough for our expert. Grow up, dear!

    • So let’s see how you stack up in the transparency department, shall we? 🙂

      Self-proclaimed so called expert

      Please show us where I proclaimed myself an “expert”, or even a “so called expert”, on anything. I’ll make things easier and tell you it doesn’t even have to directly involve Russia or corruption.

      Вперед и с песней!

  8. marknesop says:

    I notice Iraq is doing well – fourth from dead last after having around $704 Billion chucked at it. I dusted off my calculator and plugged that in, to see how many rubles it’d be, just for fun. My calculator started to make a funny smell, and the little window melted, so I didn’t get further than seeing 704 in US dollars is 21664.77 rubles. So I’d have to guess it’s one hell of a lot more than a trillion rubles, because I was never very good at math.

    Yet Iraq is…what’s the word, again? Oh, yes – a “catastrophic success”. Evidently success is in the eye of the taxpayer. And the United Kingdom is more corrupt than Qatar? Really? And one of the compilation sources for the Corruption Perception Index is the Africa Development Bank? Seriously?

    I see the USA came in at 22. It’s a spot it shares with such world leaders, nuclear powers, and fellow G8 members as Slovenia, Chile and Uruguay. But it’s not as corrupt as Russia. And that’s all that really matters.

  9. mab says:

    Oh, for heaven’s sake! Instead of quibbling over Russia’s ranking, why don’t you deal with the fact that a Russian government official informed Medvedev and the population — this was on TV — that $32 bln is stolen from the state budget annually?

    • The reason is that the post started with and devoted its biggest paragraph to the CPI which PURPORTS TO BE AN INTERNATIONAL COMPARATIVE RANKING.

    • marknesop says:

      Okay, sure; that’s a great idea. What’s the plan? What measures are we going to recommend to Medvedev that he’s not already doing? Aside from silly ideas like, “just tell businessmen to stop being corrupt”. I’m sure he’d entertain helpful suggestions that actually have a chance of reducing corruption, and that have not already been tried. That’s the very heart of “dealing with it” – working to solve the problem, so that the undesired factor will eventually be eliminated or reduced to a level we can agree is acceptable.

      Unless, of course, the real purpose is to make ourselves feel better about where we live by snickering over how bad it is someplace else. Oddly enough, any attempt to point out that things are maybe a good deal worse than you thought where you live is shouted down as “whataboutism”. If that’s the case, isn’t there an element of whataboutism to crowing over the horrible corruption in Russia when you either don’t live there or are not living on the Russian economy, unless your purpose is to propose realistic solutions that recognize the difficulties the government is confronting?

      • grafomanka says:

        I think each country has endemic level of corruption (probably for some cultural reasons) so you can’t expect Russia to become Sweden anytime soon. However Saakashvili did manage to kick Georgia one point up on transparency scale, I don’t know the details of what he’s done but imho it’s an example to follow.

      • Robert says:

        @What measures are we going to recommend to Medvedev that he’s not already doing? Aside from silly ideas like, “just tell businessmen to stop being corrupt”.

        “Businessmen”? Well, let’s say, begin with this:

        1. Dismiss and arrest Vladimir Putin for his role in the St Petersburg food crisis scandal in the early 1990s (that’s for starters).

        2. Dismiss and arrest Ramzan Kadyrov for his collection of palaces, luxury cars and race horses while officially he owns only one a small apartment and no cars.

        3. Dismiss and arrest Eduard Kokoity for his theft of most of Russian reconstruction funds for the “independent” Republic of South Ossetia.,,,,GEO,,4c1a1e9d5,0.html

        4. Continue with some more well-known, high-profile cases – inclduing the former “officials” from Pashka Mercedes to Zyazikov; move Shamanov from a military hospital to a prison hospital for his organized looting of private property of thousands of Russian citizens (some of them murdered in process); investigate Vladimir “Kirill” Gundayev’s personal wealth.

        Well, that’s for Day One. Continue the purge tommorow.

        (An official death penalty for them would not change much as there’s a moratorium for it in Russia, but guess I wouldn’t complain much if they mysteriously died in prison or just joined the ranks of thousands of “disappeared”.)

        Oh wait, he actually can’t do this? How strange! Why is this?

  10. Thank you! This is a beautiful post and a timely sarcasm. I like the Dr. Evil analogy. In my blog, I have written a series of posts on Russia from a philosophical and transdisciplinary perspective:

    Even though I myself am from Russia, I have lived in the USA for a year; and what happens in the Russian Federation and some other post-Soviet states I consider to be a sociocultural catastrophe which is gradually going to affect the entire world unless the problems are dealt with.

    I consider myself to be a post-partizan and do think the situation must be dealt with and blaming someone specific could be fun but would bring no solution.

  11. AJ says:

    Mark, the solution is to introduce the death penalty for corruption.

    • It’s not often that I agree with AJ, but I’m not averse to the proposal. The Soviet Union and today’s China successfully use(d) it to keep corruption from spiraling into egregious levels.

  12. marknesop says:

    @grafomanka – according to at least one account, the Georgian figures are compiled by a Georgian company that selectively polls businesses so as to achieve the most optimistic result. Saakashvili has continued to quote Transparency International as supporting his claim that Georgia “has made the most progress at fighting corruption” despite a rebuke from Transparency International in which they asked his governmment to stop, and Transparency International’s actual report that no progress has been made.

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