My apologies for the sparse postings as of late. I wish I could say that I was on vacation, but the truth is this has been exceptionally busy summer, with a few too many transatlantic flights.
Back to business: Here is a little something I was reading over at Voice of America on the obstacles facing President Medvedev’s anti-corruption measures (ending corruption = firing the siloviki). Reading this article instantly reminded me of the recent admirable decision of Ikea to not give in to the culture of bribery and extortion in Russia, representing a type of corporate foreign policy orientation that we should see more of. Unfortunately, however, I think we’ll see many more companies with less scruples willing to acceed to whatever conditions present to do business in these kinds of markets.
Yelena Panfilova, head of Transparency International’s Russian branch, says a real fight against corruption is possible only if five conditions are met.
Panfilova says those conditions are the existence of genuine political competition, laws that take precedence over informal “understandings,” a true market economy, genuine media freedom and a strong civil society. She says none of these conditions exist in Russia today.
Kirill Kabanov,head of the non-governmental National Anti-Corruption Committee, givesPresident Dmitri Medvedev high marks for admitting that there is”extreme corruption” in Russia. But he says Mr. Medvedev has failed totake steps crucial to fighting corruption in the country.
Kabanovsays Mr. Medvedev should have removed the senior officials appointedduring Vladimir Putin’s eight years in the Kremlin, who he says isresponsible for what he calls the current “corrupt situation” in thecountry – especially the Russian security service veterans known as the”Siloviki.”