6. A basis for change

1. Introduction
2. Corruption in transitional Russia
3. Corruption as a phenomenon of the transition
4. The state
5. Measures taken against corruption
6. A basis for change
7. Conclusions

There are nonetheless measures that can make corruption more difficult. A realistic and realizable budget would limit the budget deficit, and reduce the scope of ‘‘personal factor’’ in decision making by officials. Ensuring the rights of property owners and shareholders and making the activities of business enterprises ‘‘transparent’’ for shareholders would also limit corruption by reducing the scope of the need for bribes as a means of protecting private commercial interests.

Reform of the tax system would decrease the shadow economy where corruption is extensive by limiting possibilities for blackmail of private businessmen by officials of the tax collecting bodies. A decrease in the size of the cash sector by broader use of modern electronic ways of payments and the introduction of modern forms of financial reporting would hinder bribes in cash. This would restrain grassroots corruption.

Commercializing social services including housing and communal services and the introduction of competition into this domain would transform a corrupt market artificially maintained in excess demand into a normal clearing market.

Broader use of modern methods of social payments in electronic form would diminish dependence of applicants on the will of state officials and, in this way, will restrain grassroots corruption. Delegation by tender to the private sector of some government tasks with state control over the expenditure of resources would also counteract grassroots corruption.

Revival of the judicial system would hinder corruption. Reasonable salaries could be paid to judges and other court officials. A system of training and selecting personnel for court appointments could be set up. The arbitrage courts could be made reliable.

Grassroots corruption can be restrained by efficient accountable local self- government. Experience shows that local highway police supervised by the elected bodies of the local self-government are less corrupt than their counterpart that reports to the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Local self-government should, of course, not be allowed to fall under the control of criminal elements. Changes could also take place in executive authority power and in the state service bureaucracy, including an increase in the salaries of public servants and abolition of the obsolete system of privileges in the everyday life of officials. Corruption can be defeated only with the involvement of the institutions of civil society. Grassroots corruption cannot be restrained without the involvement of the people, since corruption entrenched at the low levels of the authority is almost insensitive to the authoritative pulses going downwards from the top. However, corruption can be held back by pressure from below, by the combined efforts of citizens and the institutions of civil society. When implementing an anti-corruption program, therefore, the authorities should actively involve the public and, first of all, the entrepreneurs and the independent mass media. Special attention should be paid to forming of a law-based and civil conscience and to training of citizens in the basics of behavior in a democratic and law-based society; and in particular, in the basics of anti-corruption activity.

Yet, none of these measures is sufficient for resolving the problem. The state is being asked to reform itself. The persons who gain from the blurred boundary between business and political life will not necessarily be anxious to define the boundaries. As we have observed above for this reason, the fight against corruption becomes a struggle to restructure civil authority, when civil authority is, however, itself a bastion of corruption.

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