Russia’s Corruption Ranking at Four-Year Low, Transparency Says

Russia’s ranking among the world’s most corrupt nations fell to the lowest level since 2007, the year before President Dmitry Medvedev came to office, according to Transparency International.

Russia was classified as the 143rd most-corrupt country out of 182 surveyed in Transparency International’s 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index, an improvement on its 154th place the previous year. Even with the improved ranking, Russia remains the world’s most corrupt major economy, with higher levels of graft than in Pakistan, Cameroon and Niger. New Zealand is the least corrupt country and Somalia the most, according to the Berlin-based anti-corruption watchdog.

Medvedev, 46, a former corporate lawyer, repeatedly promised to fight corruption and improve the rule of law. He agreed in September to step aside next May to make way for the return of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to the presidency. Putin, 59, a former KGB officer, has been in power since 2000 and may serve as president for another 12 years.

Russians paid at least 164 billion rubles ($5.35 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 in June.

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