Bribing for Grades

It’s no secret that Russia has a rampant corruption problem – something that Joschka Fischer has described as a “symptom of the disease of selective modernization.” However, as an article by Jane Armstrong of the Globe and Mail shows, the culture of corruption has spread wide and far beyond the borders of government, even to have a major impact on academic life as students increasingly purchase their college degrees instead of earn them:

But it’s not just the Russian economy that is affected. Countless college and university graduates, including medical students, have entered demanding professions using bogus educational credentials.

And public safety is jeopardized by motorists who have purchased their driver’s licences or paid off inspectors during annual auto safety inspections.Salesman Mikhail Balashov paid $700 for his driver’s licence after failing the test four times. Mr. Balashov said he suspected the driving inspector was failing him on purpose because he hadn’t offered a bribe.After his fourth failed test, Mr. Balashov arranged to pay the inspector through a mutual acquaintance. On his fifth attempt, after the inspector was paid, Mr. Balashov passed his exam.Like Mr. Nasipov, Mr. Balashov said he felt no remorse. “In this country, you can’t survive without giving a bribe. It is just the law of living, not a crime.”