Thursday, July 21, 2005

Bribery Soars to $319 Billion Per Year--Russia

This is a real drag on business and a tax on the people--Study: Bribery Soars to $319 Billion Per Year--though there appears to be good news here.

Bribery is on the rise, with businesses and individuals forking out $319 billion per year to bureaucrats, police, educators and doctors, according to a study released Wednesday.

However, people are gradually growing more reluctant to pay bribes, it said.

Bureaucrats and other state-paid employees are putting increasing pressure on people to pay bribes, despite well-publicized efforts by the Kremlin to crack down on corruption, according to the two-year study by Indem, an anti-corruption think tank, and Romir Monitoring.

"The stable growth of corruption is provided by the extra pressure that the authorities are putting on ordinary people to make them pay bribes," Indem president Georgy Satarov said at a news conference.

"However, ordinary people have appeared to become more reluctant to pay bureaucrats, finding other ways of solving their problems, and this a very positive effect," he said.

Ukraine is on a par with this at least if you factor in the number of people. A lot of experts say that bribery hasn't stopped under Yuschenko even with the efforts made and despite his own personal pleas. And some say it has actually increased. (It has increased, they say, because the risks to the bribe-takers have increased--they have to charge more and get more to cover their risks. That might be good news.)

What a shame this is. What kind of real uses could that money be put to to increase the standard of living of Ukrainians and Russians? That amount in Russia is larger than the oil hedge fund they have. What a real waste.