In Russia, the price of bribes rise as its corruption rating slides
Russia ranked 154th on the annual Corruption Perceptions Index of 178 countries, sliding down eight spots from last year. A promised 'war on corruption' isn't yielding fruit.
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On Mr. Medvedev's watch, Duma deputies and state officials have been forced to file income statements for the first time, the police force has been overhauled, and arrests for bribe-taking have sharply increased.
So why is Russia getting lower marks for fighting corruption than in the past?
The latest sign that Medvedev's much vaunted anticorruption drive is faltering comes from the independent Berlin-based corruption watchdog Transparency International, whose widely watched global Corruption Perceptions Index shows Russia slipping dramatically down the annual list of 178 countries, from 146th place last year to 154th. That puts it in league with countries like Laos, Kenya, and the Central African Republic.
"Yes, the authorities have made loud declarations about fighting corruption, but there's a big discrepancy between words and reality," says Anton Pominov, a researcher with Transparency International's Russian branch. "It's not just us. Most reports by independent organizations on Russian corruption agree on one thing: nobody sees any effective action."
Medvedev, who came to power in 2008, has passionately argued that Russia needs to "modernize" its industrial base, social customs, and political institutions to survive in the 21st century.
The first order of business, he frequently says, is to eradicate the country's endemic culture of graft, bribe-taking, and official extortion, which experts estimate sucks upwards of $300 billion out of the economy each year.