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.”