EDITORIAL: Corruption in Putin’s Russia


Corruption in Putin’s Russia

Political competition is a necessary element for properly structuring any economy. We would like to see more ideas and more political competition in the development of these ideas.

— Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin, April 21, 2011

They say that a fish rots from the head. Nowhere is that more true than in Russia.  The country ranks a genuinely shocking #154 out of 178 world nations when surveyed for corruption, meaning that Russia is the 24th most corrupt country on this planet.  Three people can count on their fingers the number of nations more corrupt than Russia, with more than a whole hand going spare.

It did not get that way by accident. As we document in today’s special issue, Russian corruption is so shockingly extensive and deep-rooted because Russia’s very highest leaders are themselves on the take, and the nation is just following their example.

Boris Nemtsov has recently exposed the horrifying personal corruption of Vladimir Putin himself, as well as that of Putin’s entire inner circle.  This clan of thieves is looting Russia to the bare walls, to the tune of billions of dollars, and they are free to do so because Russia’s political and media establishments are just as corrupted as they are.

They are brazen about it. Putin and Medvedev have a whole galaxy of castles and palaces being built around them for their personal amusement, and they are guzzling billions of dollars from the Russian treasury to pad Swiss bank accounts.

Putin has always been corrupt, even when he was a student.  He shamelessly plagiarized his PhD thesis, and when he was caught red-handed nothing at all was done to punish him.  The message sent to Russia’s young people is perfectly clear:  Cheating and lying is good, learn how as soon as you can.  The better you do it, the better off you’ll be. Become a real master, and you might get to be president one day.

Stories about appalling corruption and its dire effects flow out of Russia like a river of blood.  Just days ago, it was reported the the KGB was forcing Russia’s leading online search engine, Yandex, to turn over lists of persons using “Yandex Money” to make donations to political groups despised by the Kremlin, like Alexei Navalny’s Rospil.  Yandex provided the information, and then the donors where harassed and intimidated.  This is rank political corruption of the first magnitude, the Kremlin using direct control over the Internet to crush dissent in the same manner it was done in Soviet times.

It’s not hard to understand how things like this can happen when you know that the Kremlin controls all broadcast television, doesn’t allow any true opposition parties in parliament, and directly appoints the governors of Russia’s states.  There simply is no center of power that can monitor and reveal corruption to Russian citizens, so they have no idea of its extent.

But even if they did know, they likely would do nothing. Russia’s population is itself corrupt, and gutless. Russians won’t stand up and fight for their rights, so the Kremlin takes them all away with the greatest of ease. Russians did nothing to rein in the dictator Josef Stalin, and they will do nothing to stop Putin either.

The result can only be the same. Russia will collapse just as the USSR did not so very long ago.

20 responses to “EDITORIAL: Corruption in Putin’s Russia

  1. Who knows the country where corruption is severily reduced(besides small Georgia)? Corruption is defined by the tradition and the law obedience.The ancient imperial tradition of “kormlenie”-feeding is the legalized corruption of the “power vertical”. The corruption problem is the trifle compeared to imperial main problems! Can one imagine the Russian Coup d`Etat with the slogan of fight against corruption-ridiculouse! Navalny uses nationalism as the urgent attractive weapon for corruption fight.

  2. It extends, we suspect, to intimidating and bribing high legal officers in countries in the Far Abroad to throw court cases in favour of Russia or its “Orthodox” State Church – justice in France will not be so easily purchased as it was across the Channel.

  3. Observer! there is such a high degree of the fear that the fear eliminates hate(and the understanding of course)! This fear of Russia prevents people to understand Russian problems instead they see their own problems in Russia. Weimar republik`s experience have tought us not to humiliate and not touch national feelings. So the West looks at Russia trying not to see her most painful problems.

    • Ben, Nothing will ever eliminate the hate and total contempt for Russia – it is the only logical reaction of the civilized world towards Russia’s barbarity and perfidy in trying to keep that obscenity called the ‘russian empire’ which is, by the way, desintegrating in front of our eyes. What a poetic justice and humiliation indeed, to see Moscow that already became a muslim, central asian city, and the russian army which is 50% muslim – what a vindication for the millions of victims of the russian criminal ‘ state’.

      • Hmm, given that none of the statistics you quote appears to be true, the true poetic justice is to see how low Russia’s adversaries sank.

      • and, by the way, what is wrong with the ethnic composition of Moscow, whatever it is. Are you also bothered that African-Americans constitute the majority of Washington DC’s population or that non-hispanic whites account for only 35% of NYC’s population? You can find both figures anywhere on the web. Any references confirming your claims of the religious composition of Moscow and the Russian army?

        • AT, It is nothing wrong with the ethnic composition of Moscow, and russia’s for that matter. You missed a little detail, muslim countries, temporary under russian control, keep slaughtering you and try to destroy russia – haven’t you noticed THAT???? Let’s imagine the russian army, 50% muslim already, defending russian interest unless you convert that to that failed christian sect called russian orthodox church….

          • Well, no I have not noticed any muslim countries slaughtering Russia. I have also proved wrong your statements that “Russia has no GDP”, “80% of Russians live below the poverty line”, “80% of Russians live in Siberia in huts”. I cannot find a source for your claim that “50% of Russian army is muslim already”. Also, what religion has to do with the country’s interest? Russia was a largely secular society. People of different ethic and religious backgrounds defend Russia’s interests. What about Poland? Do you need to be a Papist heretic to defend Poland’s interests? Sad!

            • …and you noted yourself that a person of the Armenian descent is in charge of Russia’s foreign affairs; ethnic Tatars are in charge of the Russian police and Russian economy. The most prominent Russian businessmen are not necessarily ethnic Russians. Georgians, Poles, Baltic people, Bulgarians are prominent members of Russia’s artistic elites. No, you don’t need to be ethnically Russian or Orthodox Christian to defend Russia’s interests.

  4. AT, If you haven’t noticed that russia is fighting numerous wars; Chechnia, Ingushetia, Dagestan, Kabardyno-Balkaria, Georgia,Ukraine, you must be drinking that contaminated russian samogon or you are high on the Afghan heroin. Russia follow the path of another ’empire’ of the past the mongol empire, tell me where Mongolia is now?? What is happening in russia cannot be controlled by terror, by wars or political manipulations it is just another empire slowly desintegrating..

    • Well, the war in Georgia is over now. What war in Ukraine? Yes, there is an insurgency in the Caucasus, which is being quelled now, largely by local hands. No, Russia is not controlled by terror. It is ruled through a social consensus at the moment. As for Russia disintegrating, well, not in your lifetime, Pschek.

      • What “social consensus?” Millions of brainwashed sheep blindly following their dictator is hardly a social consensus. Or is it the same kind of consensus as the one arrived at during Nuremberg rallies? You know, when hysterical mobs of previously brainwashed sheep followed their own dictator.

        You have presented a false dichotomy: it’s either terror or consensus. But there are other way to control masses, i.e., deceit, propaganda, lies, etc.

        • No. Millions raised from poverty every year, steadily improving living standards, as well as freedom and civil liberties in all the everyday aspects of life for the majority and all the more or less significant minorities result in a wide support of the administration, even though the administration curbs competition in the political area leading to a host of negative consequences.

          The “brainwashed millions…” argument is just fundamentally wrong. Under Communism, the regime truly invested effort in brainwashing in control, however, a few years of falling living standards and really curtailed freedom of expression resulted in society’s rejecting the regime.

          If you don’t get this, you don’t get what’s going on in Russia.

      • AT, Wishful thinking, dear barakkhlo, you are fighting several wars; yeah right; russia is ruled through a social consensus – if you defy a social consensus you drink tea with polonium or you march to the gulags, russia is controlled by terror called putin.. By the way, you keep learning e.g., the Central Asia – you know now you have to keep in line and keep your head down. Central Asia is totally pro-chinese. A little pogroms of russian during russian instigated putsch in Kyrgyzystan wa a good lesson for you.

  5. RV, I hope you don’t start questioning “improving living standards, as well as freedom and civil liberties in all the everyday aspects of life for the majority” – we’ve had this discussion before. Sometimes you just appear to be mute to arguments, statistics, accounts of first-hand experience. I wonder who is brainwashed here. Let’s clarify if we are having a rational argument in good faith or there is really nothing you want to learn and that you are so set in your ways that really nothing will change your opinion.

  6. Russia has become a resource-based state, like Iraq or Saudi Arabia. It is hard to think of a resource-based economy that is not corrupt.

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