Friday, February 03, 2006

Corruption, and moral dilemmas, Part 2

Part 1 of this post is here.

I had been driving with a Ukrainian colleague, Alex, back from a weekend from in the mountains, when we were stopped by a DAIschcyk [traffic cop].

A few minutes later after Alex and the DAIschyk had gone into the bushes, they returned. I saw them through the windshield exchange a few words, and shake hands. The DAI'schyk smiled pleasantly, waved, and wished us both a safe journey home.
We drove off into the night. After a few minutes, I asked Alex what had happened: 'Did you bribe the guy?' Rather annoyed, I continued, 'If you had done such a thing in my country, then there would be a strong likelyhood of a night in the police-station, and I would have missed my flight home'.

As we carried on driving he admitted that he had passed the DAI'schyk and his pal operating the radar trap a couple of 'bloky' of cigarettes, as well as some cigarette promo trinkets. He started to explain in a relaxed manner, why matters which look at first glance corrupt and unethical, are sorted out as they are in Ukraine.

First of all he admitted that he had slightly exceeded the speed limit, [although I hadn't seen any restriction signs] so in a manner of speaking, he had incurred punishment, and justice had been done.

Had he been booked and received a ticket, they he would have had to return within a few days to the small town, attend a court hearing, and pay a fine. Thanks to the DAIschyky taking a 'backhander', a serious inconvenience had been avoided.

As for the DAI'schyky, well, in all probability having been placed on a radar patrol, they too would have to pay-off a superior, who put them on duty that particular night, with a share of part of their ill-gotten gains. And he in turn, would have to periodically pay off in some way the area controller, and so on, in a pyramid of corruption.

My reaction to this was: 'Well yes, but you can't run a country like this,' and suggested that in such a structure, it is the poorest, at the bottom of the muck-heap, who, relatively, suffer the most,'

Alex had a think, and replied by presenting a scenario to me.

[To be continued..]

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