Russia, for Sale
Last week, the U.S. government filed a lawsuit against Daimler Corporation, accusing it of paying more than $4 million in bribes to high-ranking Russian government officials in order to win preferences for its vehicles in Russian government contracts. The Company is subject to U.S. laws because its shares are traded on the U.S. exchanges. It’s reported that Daimler has already confessed its guilt and agreed to pay nearly $200 million in fines.
It’s hard to know what aspect of this pathetic, outrageous, humiliating disaster is the most pernicious for Russia.
Is it the fact that Russia can’t make enough quality vehicles to satisfy the Russian government’s needs?
Is it instead the fact that it was the U.S. government, not the Russian, which rooted out this horrifying graft?
Or could it be the mere fact that the Russian government is so riddled with corruption from top to bottom that it isn’t even surprising to learn that high-ranking officials accept millions in bribes to buy cars from foreign countries?
Any way you look at it, the spectacle of this corruption and its permutations means only one thing for Russia: Absolute doom.
So much for Russian “president” Dima Medvedev’s plan to root out corruption. We will wait for Medvedev to start investigating the high-ranking Kremlin officials who were undoubtedly the beneficiaries of Daimler’s largesse with bated breath.
We will wait for him to call for the sweeping legal reform that would make it possible for Russia not just to avoid this type of pernicious bribery, but also to actually start manufacturing vehicles that will be good enough for the Kremlin to use (or at least to make Russian car makers successful enough so that they can compete in bribe offering with the Germans).
We know, of course, that none of that will ever happen, both because Medvedev is not a reformer and because, even if he were, he lacks the authority to implement any significant reforms. So the Kremlin will go on buying cars from foreign nations, sending a clear signal to Russians that their own vehicles are simply not good enough, even as the nationalists in the Putin regime go on hypocritically attacking foreigners. And Russia will continue on its path to national collapse.