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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