Fighting corruption: Russian bribes

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The New York Times reports that corruption has become commonplace in Russia:

Bribes [are] an unavoidable cost of doing business in Russia today. ‘If you want to be competitive you have to play the game,’ he said… ‘It used to be called bribery,’ he added. ‘Now it is just called business.’

And the trend appears to be on the rise:

The Indem Foundation…estimated last month that Russians paid more than $3 billion in bribes annually and that businesses paid $316 billion - nearly 10 times the estimate of its first survey just four years ago.

Not even international corruption watchdog Transparency International can escape:

When Transparency International applied to register its branch in 2000, an official in the Justice Ministry solicited a $300 "fee" to correct supposed problems in the application that Ms. Panfilova [Director of the Moscow branch of TI] said did not exist. "I said, 'Do you know who we are?' " she recalled.

The article does not tell us the response, but perhaps 'Do you care who we are?' would have been a more appropriate question.

Previous NYT's articles from this series discuss Latin America and Africa. An interactive feature is also available.

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