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The Most Corrupt Groups in Russia are Officials and Police

According to a recent study by Transparency International, as part of the Global Corruption Barometer 2013, 92% of Russians are disaffected with the level of corruption in the country, and furthermore, they distrust the government and are ready to take on the fight against this evil themselves

Transparency International, an international anti-corruption movement, revealed the results of the Global Corruption Barometer – the largest study of corrupt behavior among citizens of various countries and their views on corruption in different social sectors in their countries.

114,270 people in 107 countries were surveyed as part of the study. This was the eighth wave of the study, with the previous one taking place in 2010.

According to the most recent results, in 2013 the level of global corruption has risen, and accordingly, citizens’ willingness to fight this problem has also grown. One in every four people on the planet has encountered bribery. 27% of respondents have given bribes over the last 12 months, while nine out of ten respondents declared their readiness to fight corruption.

Among respondents in Russia (1000 people surveyed by Romir), 50% believe that the level of corruption in the country has grown over the last two years, and 37% say that it has grown ‘considerably’. 92% gave a positive answer to the question ‘Is it a problem?’. Only 1% of respondents refused to acknowledge the existence of a problem.

Respondents believe that the most corrupt group in Russia is made up of government officials – 92%; while the police, with 89%, arein second place. 84% and 83% Russian citizens don’t believe in the honesty of judges and members of parliament respectively. 77% suspect political parties ofcorruption, and 75% believe the problem of corruption involves medics. Over the previous year, 49% of those surveyed had given bribes to staff of healthcare institutions, and 47% to employees in the education sphere. The least corrupt, according to respondents, are religious and non-commercial organizations.

The vast majority of Russians (over 80%) believe that in order to achieve a goal in the public sector, personal affiliations are necessary. In addition to that, Russians think that the government is ‘mostly’ or ‘totally’ controlled by several influential people who act according to their own interests.

77% of respondents say that state anti-corruption activities are ineffective. Transparency International believes that this is an indicator of the lack of trust in government and institutions. At the same time, 45% of Russian respondents are sure that ordinary citizens can change the situation and defeat the problem of corruption. Disaffection with the current situation is growing, and Russians are ready to act, but still tread rather carefully, according to Anton Pominov, Deputy Director of Research Centre at Transparency International.

86% of those surveyed are ready to report an incidence of corruption, while three years ago only 52% were prepared to speak out about it. 81% said they were willing to fight corruption through social networks and to distribute information on bribes; 74% would sign a petition, and 47% are prepared to go to a peaceful anti-corruption rally. Half of the respondents who are not ready to participate in anti-corruption campaigns explain their inaction through fear of the consequences.

Transparency International believes that in a situation when distrust in the anti-corruption effort by governmental bodies is growing in society, it is necessary to urgently adopt the principle of inevitable and non-selective punishment for bribes; to introduce criminal responsibility with tough penalties for illegal profiteering; to stop the practices of pressure on civil society institutions, which function as independent anti-corruption civil control; to implement effective measures on protecting those who report corruption.

Yury Nisnevich, HSE Professor and Leading Research Fellow at the Laboratory for Political Research, commented on the problem:

Corruption is the highest form of social injustice. In Russia it is beyond the pale. The government should listen to this carefully, but instead, is acting in the opposite direction.

At the same time, this recent study by Transparency International shows that pressure is brewing in society, and a negative attitude to corruption is growing among our citizens.

And while in other countries, political parties are traditionally considered to be corrupt, in Russia it is state officials, who, in citizens’ view, form the political sphere.

We don’t know what will be the final straw that brings about an active protest movement. But today we clearly understand that discontent is growing. When Russians will say that they are ready for direct action, an ‘explosion’ will happen. The state itself is pushing them towards it, for example, through the promise to increase salaries several fold for corrupt officials.

 

July 10, 2013