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So says an article published today by the Associated Press, based on a new survey from Transparency International, the global anti-corruption body based in Berlin.
Transparency International (TI) has a good and solid reputation in business for both awareness raising and offering practical suggestion on anti-corruption.
So when TI puts out research, the media rightly listens.
And the results of TI's latest survey make damning reason for Russia. Why, because it comes last among major economies for corruption.
The country came 22nd and last among major emerging economies. China, Mexico and India all came higher, whilst Belgium and Canada came in joint top of the overall list.
Some 2,742 executives from 26 countries responded to TI's survey.
The NGOs' researchers then used the responses to rank countries on a scale of 1 to 10, ten being best.
AP says the methodology includes "each country's ranking...determined by answers from between 114 and 718 executives, depending on the number of executives that had experience of each country".
The Economist also ran a damning piece on corruption in Russia recently, available here.
What seems particularly worrying about Russia is that requests for bribery have become much more like extortion than appears to be the case in some other big emerging economies.
Asking for bribes is becoming proactive, rather than reactive, setting some dangerous precedents. As the Economist writer, a former Financial Times journalist based in Moscow, puts it: "These days businessmen pay bribes as much to be left alone as to get something done. They call it a “bribe of survival”."
When widespread reactive bribery becomes common active extortion a country really is in trouble. One does not need an international development or economics degree to credibly state that.
However, survey results are not perfect on such a broad issue. A recent business intelligence report from this publication's sister arm, the Ethical Corporation Institute, shows however that some small progress may be being made in Russia's slowing growing efforts to wean government officials and companies off bribery.
ECI's researchers, based in both Russia and London, found that while the cost of bribes is often seen as rising, the incidence of them may well be decreasing.
Exact measurements are of course impossible, but anti-corruption experts and businesses interviewed for ECI's new report "Anti-corruption, Ethics and Compliance in Russia" believe this to be the case.
For more information on the ECI report on anti-corruption in Russia, "Anti-corruption, ethics and compliance in Russia" go here.
According to TI, these are the five best and worst nations for corruption, as ranked by their recent survey data:
1. Belgium -- 8.8
1. Canada -- 8.8
3. Netherlands -- 8.7
3. Switzerland -- 8.7
5. Germany -- 8.6
5. Japan -- 8.6
5. United Kingdom -- 8.6
1. Russia -- 5.9
2. China -- 6.5
3. Mexico -- 6.6
4. India -- 6.8
5. Brazil -- 7.4
5. Italy -- 7.4
More on TI's latest survey and report is available here.
If you're interested in learning more about ways to tackle anti-corruption in your business, you might want to take a look at this conference we're holding in Washington DC on 14-15 May 2009. It's all about how you can manage anti corruption risk in your business, today. It's called The 2nd Annual Global Anti-corruption Summit USA.
Take a look at the conference by clicking on this link: www.ethicalcorp.com/globalethics
If you'd like some more information just call: +44 (0) 207 375 7575