Russia, for Sale
One of the most hilarious Russophile notions we’ve yet encountered is the way they attempt to attack Transparency International’s international index of corruption by claiming it is only a “perceptions” index and only places Russia at the uncivilized bottom of its list because of anti-Russian bias — as if all the talk about corruption in Russia were nothing but hot air and not based on any measurable reality.
TI needs no defense from us. It is a world renown organization of international objective scholars with unimpeachable credentials that provides an essential monitoring service.
But still, it’s genuinely pleasurable for us to watch the expressions on the faces of these idiot Russophiles change when they see a report like the one that aired on Russia Today, of all places, recently. Perhaps by accident, the Russian Interior Ministry decided to admit, and RT decided to report, that the average size of a bribe in Putin’s Russia has increased by a stunning 700% in just the past year.
In other words, the forces of corruption in Putin’s Russia are not receding, they are going hog wild.
There’s a tremendous irony, of course, in the Interior Ministry reporting on corruption statistics because, as former parliamentarian Vladimir Ryzhkov writes, they are a source of corruption not a limit on it. He recounts:
One instance in the village of Sagra in the Sverdlovsk Region is a shining example. The police were called but failed to respond when it became clear that they would have to face a gang that was armed to the teeth. Had they been professionals, they would have arrived immediately, confronted the gang, and put them behind bars. Instead, they let the battle play out and showed up three hours later when it was safe. It is a perfect illustration of how the reform has failed because it was misguided from the start.
In other words, many Russians with justification have more fear of the police than they do of criminals.
But most of all, if they have any sense, Russians fear their fellow citizens, in all walks of life. Russian corruption is spiraling out of control for one simple reason: Russians are corrupt and proud of it. Corruption of every type, from moral to financial, dominates all aspects of Russian society, and the fish rots from the head.
Russians turn a blind eye to the shameless personal corruption of Vladimir Putin, their supreme leader. Putin had diverted billions of dollars from the federal treasury into his own pockets, billions more towards building a lavish network of personal palaces for himself and his cronies to live in, and still more billions towards a corrupt continuation of the cold war and a brutal repression of basic democratic values.
Now, corruption is the dominant force in Russian life. Just as in Soviet times, it presents and insurmountable drag on the national economy, preventing it from being competitive. And so many Russians benefit from it that they are unwilling to do anything to change it.