Talking about corruption and bribery is generally a good thing, even if the rhetoric itself is empty and hollow. At the very least, it is becoming less convenient to lie about it.
However this news about some 50 major multinational companies announcing that they will sign a pledge to end bribery in Russia is a little hard to take seriously. The pledge, which will be signed by Daimler, Siemens, and Deutsche Bank, is calling for a “zero tolerance” approach.
But how can we ever know if this will be fulfilled? Furthermore, many of these companies are the ones specifically responsible for endorsing the culture of corruption in Russia (Siemens in particular has a bad history with the country in this area). Everyone seems excited to talk about how “supportive” the Russian government is being about the anti-corruption effort, but it is truly hard to imagine how these companies are going to be able to continue forward doing business when there is no functioning system in place to actually penalize bribe-taking. Just ask Ikea how far good intentions will get you.