Russian ‘Everyday’ Corruption Doubled Since 2001, Ministry Says

Russians paid at least 164 billion rubles ($5.9 billion) in bribes last year to buy off teachers, traffic policemen and others in “everyday” situations, almost double the level in 2001, the Economy Ministry said.

The overall “market” for bribes, excluding corruption and kickbacks related to business, reached 129 billion rubles in 2005 from 84.8 billion rubles in 2001, Deputy Economy Minister Oleg Fomichev told reporters in Moscow today.

Russia is the world’s most corrupt major economy, according to Transparency International’s 2010 Corruption Perceptions Index issued in October, sliding to 154th among 178 countries, alongside Tajikistan and Kenya. President Dmitry Medvedev, a former lawyer, has made tackling graft and bureaucracy key goals of his presidency, advocating stronger legal institutions and greater respect for the law.

The average bribe paid last year was 5,285 rubles, Fomichev said. Corruption was most widespread in universities, followed by traffic police, army conscription and payoffs for admittance to kindergarten, he said.

The results are encouraging except for the fact that people have become “far more accustomed” to corruption, Fomichev said. The number of bribes fell to 31 million last year, from 46 million in 2005, the ministry estimates.

To contact the reporter on this story: Scott Rose in Moscow at rrose10@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net.

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