Russia: Corruption takes 50 per cent of Russia’s GDP

world | Aug 20, 2010 | By Asia News

Moscow – A recent report ranks Russia’s most corrupt state institutions, with stats that show how much extra money (i.e. bribes) some government officials take home each month. Released on the website of Russia’s Association of Lawyers for Human Rights, “Corruption 2010” provides an up-to-date snapshot of the impact of kickbacks in every domain of Russia’s public and private life.

Based on official data and personal testimonies, the study shows that “The market of corruption represents 50 per cent of GDP”. In just a year since July 2009, the report looked at 6,500 cases of people who complained about having to pay up. It even came up with the prices for services rendered and the cost for getting a job in the police or a favourable sentence in the courts.

The lawyers’ association found that in education and health care corruption represents between 40 and 80 per cent of activities. For instance, it said that Russians know that decent medical care in a public hospital requires “additional fees” that are determined by bargaining with nurses. A university degree from a good university can cost US$ 500, whilst a single exam might cost as low as US$ 20, sources told AsiaNews

Russia’s security agencies, the so-called siloviki (силовики́), i.e. the top officials at the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB), the Interior Ministry or the Federal Narcotics Control Service, are top of the class in the corruption department. Some of officials in these agencies can take home up to US$ 20,000 per month by providing “assistance” in unlawful activities. Just below them come prosecutors who can make an extra US$ 10,000 a month. Then there are traffic inspectors who can take home up to US$ 5,000 in extra salary and judges, who can get up to US$ 3,000.

But this is not all. All of these positions can be had for a price. Positions in government departments and the police can be bought. An assistant district prosecutor post can cost € 7,800 (US$ 10,000), whilst a position as an inspector in the traffic police can reach € 40,000 (US$ 50,000).

According to the InoPressa agency and French daily Le Monde, an average bribe doubled in value to 1,500 € (US$ 1,900) since the start of the year.

None of this is new. As far back as 2005, another study suggested that half of Russia’s GDP ended up in the pockets of corrupt officials.

Despite official Kremlin announcements that the government would take on corruption, the new study simply shows that things have not changed. This explains why Russia ranks 146th (out of 180 countries) on Transparency International’s Corruptions Perceptions Index (CPI).

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