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Bribes Becoming More Expensive

Here’s an interesting report from the Moscow Times: The cost of the average bribe in Russia has doubled over the last six months. Paradoxically, the reason behind the increase appears to be Medvedev’s fight against corruption. Some say the statistics are skewed, though:

“The authorities are fighting corruption, and bribery has become more dangerous,” said Albert Istomin, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry’s department for fighting economic crimes, which released the new bribe figures. “Therefore, people are not ready to take the risk for a small sum,” he said by telephone.

In 2008, the average sum of a bribe was more than 9,000 rubles ($300), the Interior Ministry said in March.

But analysts linked the trend to Kremlin-imposed restrictions on the number of checks that officials can conduct on businesses, which they said has increased officials’ appetites for bribes, and an overall failure in the Kremlin’s anti-corruption efforts.

Kirill Kabanov, head of the National Anti-Corruption Committee, a nongovernmental organization, said the average bribe had to grow because the Interior Ministry only calculated cases that went to court and a growing number of senior officials — who take larger bribes than rank-and-file bureaucrats — are being prosecuted.