Everyday Corruption in Russia


On June 14, 2011 the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation published a report prepared by a Moscow-based think-tank, the INDEM Foundation, titled “Condition of the everyday corruption in the Russian Federation”. This report focuses on the assessment of petty bribery and the efficiency of government anti-bribery measures. This report based on ongoing research, including a 2010 study commissioned by the Ministry of Economic Development of Russian Federation. This research included a large-scale public survey of 17,500 respondents in 70 Russian regions. The study’s methodology was designed and data analysis was carried out by INDEM Foundation including Georgy Satarov, Urii Blagovezhensky, Igor Vinukov, Vladimir Rimskiy, Sergei Parhomenko. The field work was conducted by the Public Opinion Foundation.

The study revealed that the average bribe grew nearly twofold in five years from 2780 rubles (approx. US$90) in 2005 to 5285 rubles in 2010 (approx. US$176). Additionally, the study established that the total volume of petty bribery in Russia has also grown significantly from 164 billion rubles (approx. US$5.8 billion) from 129 billion rubles (US$4.6 billion) five years ago. This growth, however, should take into account the 7-8% inflation rate. If compared to the growth of GDP, the volume of corruption in Russia has been progressively declining from 0.95% in 2001, 0.60% in 2005 to 0.42% in 2010.

The average amount of a petty bribe in 2001 (1817 rubles), 2005 (2780 rubles) and 2010 (5285 rubles) grew faster than inflation. In 2010 it was 93% of an average salary. Extensive growth of an average bribe explains the decline in the volume of a petty corruption - most of the Russian citizens simply can not afford to pay bribes at such a high cost.

Russian citizens have the highest risk to get involved into the corruption transaction is during interactions with the Traffic Police, while applying for a child care/kinder gardens and when applying for a college/higher education. State and municipal healthcare system leads in terms of volume of petty bribery - 35295 million rubles (approx. US$1.2 billion), Traffic Police - 24, 236 billion rubles (US$0.8 billion dollars) and Higher Education System (College and University) – 20,783 billion rubles (US$0.69 billion dollars) are further situated. These fields of activity account for almost half of the total petty bribery market in Russia.

Other notable findings include the reduction of those who do not know how to give a bribe from 24% in 2005 to 9% in 2010. Furthermore, it appears that only 1% of the respondents do not give bribes based on fear of prosecution. Interestingly, 77% of the respondents heard of the government anti-bribery measures, however, only 4% think that government is taking all necessary steps to fight the corruption. 19% of respondents believe that government officials do not make efforts to fix this problem and 40% state that a greater effort needs to be done in this sphere.

Also the study revealed that the corruption is not declining in the regions where governors were on their posts for a prolonged period of time. Therefore, replacement of the governors can be one of the effective anticorruption measures.