Bribe Payers Index 2011: Why is Russia last?

Today, Transparency International publishes the 2011 Bribe Payers Index. Elena Panfilova, Board Member of Transparency International and Director of our Russian Chapter, talks about Russia’s low score, which puts it in last place, as it was in 2008.

Russia finishes last in the Bribe Payers Index this year. Why do you think this is?

Russia also finished last in the BPI published in 2008, and although the score rose from 5.9 to 6.1, there has been no real improvement in anti-corruption enforcement.

In Russia we have an expression called “stabilised corruption”, meaning that even if new laws are adopted, it does not have the desired effect on those involved in corruption because they are not enforced.

Will the new law on criminalising bribery of foreign officials have an impact?  

Similar laws were adopted five years ago, but they have not been implemented yet. This law looks great on paper, but the question is whether it will be implemented.

For example, I don’t see that any businesses know they fall under new criteria. We will have to teach them about the new rules and what they have to do to comply.

The law itself is great, joining the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention is great, but the real work will be all in the future.

Will corruption be a big issue in the upcoming Russian elections?

I don’t know any country in the world where corruption isn’t an issue and electoral candidates don’t explore the issue in some way. In many countries there are public campaigns or debates on corruption, and some leaders go to the length of ordering prosecutions of corrupt officials strangely close to elections. We can see all those things in Russia and I can easily see it happening again.

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Elena Panfilova

About Elena Panfilova

Elena Panfilova is the Vice-Chair of Transparency International.

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10 Responses to Bribe Payers Index 2011: Why is Russia last?

  1. Esteban Cardenas 2 November 2011 at 12:59 pm #

    Rusia is last because it has bad reputation, which results not only for whatever actual level of curruption they have, but mainly from the image created by agencies like TI. The design of the survey is wrong. It does ask if the interviewed has business with the refered country, but then its asks about the PERCEPTION on that country, rather than their actual EXPERIENCE. Have you or have you not been offered bribes from Russian companies? THAT is the correct question. Of course, very few will accept so because at the end, for an act of curruption to occur, at least two actors are needed, where both are being corrupt. The way the survey is designed is simply a popularity and branding contest.

  2. Deborah Hardoon
    Deborah Hardoon 2 November 2011 at 4:06 pm #

    Ideally we would gather evidence of the exact value of bribes paid, who they were paid by and to, and why they were paid. But as bribery is illegal, deliberately hidden and an off book transaction, we must explore other ways to measure its prevalence.

    Perceptions are not only an effective way to do this, as it allows us to ask questions in a survey that does not implicate the respondent, and allow for us to capture indirect experiences (if for example they lost a contract due to a competitor using improper means). But also perceptions are nevertheless important in their own right as they influence how others behave in their business dealings with companies from these countries. For example, officials or potential clients and business partners may approach Russian firms with bribery in mind based on their perceptions of how business is done by Russian firms.

  3. Esteban Cardenas 2 November 2011 at 9:46 pm #

    I am sory Ms. Hardoon, but I do not agree. I come from Latin America and I have work experience in North America and in Europe. It is specially in northern Europe where prejudice and stereotypes are stronger than empirical data. A simple example: Germans KNOW that Latin Americans are not punctual. So, when I come on time, they say “you are not a real Latin American”. When they come on time, they say, they are being “very German”, and when they come late (which is not that unusual), they say they simply got delayed for a valid reason. What you are measuring with perceptions is country branding. It is possible to measure factual data which does not implicate the surveyed person. Valid questions would be: “have you lost a contract for refusing to pay a bribe”, “have you been offered a bribe” No? “have you heard from a third person if he has been offered a bribe” Being offered a bribe is not illegal, unless it is accepted.

  4. Segey Maslov 9 November 2011 at 5:31 pm #

    It is answer on the questions in order to help west businessmen not lose money in Russia.
    Elene Panfilova keeps silence too.

    Dear Dr. Frank Schauff,
    Please, pay attention on my e-mails sent to you with my three articles. I hope , you will find a lot of materials to your next speech regarding russian management, legislation, corporate culture and ethics.
    3.”Corporative culture as a guide to action”.
    Rgds Sergey Maslov
    Gen.Director, Advisor JSC”Mumret”(Kuusakoski OY).
    June 12,2010 – pensioner.

  5. yifredew atnafu 11 November 2011 at 8:12 am #

    I want to participate in with you


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