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Grigory Pasko: How Russia Spends its Corruption Proceeds

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It’s good to have a president. Even better – a blogger-president. A non-blogger wouldn’t have even noticed that agencies, in an attempt to complicate the search for information on a site, are changing Cyrillic letters to Latin ones in announcements of tenders.

By the way, even before Mr. Medvedev, internet communities had initiated their own researches as well. For example, in October of the year 2009, the LiveJournal community zakupki_news checked on what automobiles federal officials are purchasing towards the end of the year of crisis. It turned out that out of 818 cars ordered, a mere 44% – were domestic marques, and in the cost volume – 24%.

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Here are but certain curious facts about the expenditure of state funds. The state institution Avialesookhrana [the Central Base for the Aviational Protection of Forests–Trans.] had a mind to purchase a Lexus LS 600h with a massage seat for 5.9 mln rubles for “the creation of a portable mobile forest-fire command center”. The procuracy for some reason impeded.


The administration of Kemerovo Oblast cancelled an auction for theacquisition of 30 gold watches with diamonds (maximum price – 2.526 mlnrubles, around 85 000 per watch), which governor Aman Tuleyev wanted togive as gifts to teachers and doctors. The announcement was removedafter the mass information media wrote about the purchase.

And what about the State Duma? What’s going on there? There theycertainly know how to economize on state funds and love doing so? NOT!Just for the repair of the Duma building, as well as deputies’apartments was allocated 135.6 mln. budgetary rubles. Despite suchspending, in December, as soon as the first frosts hit, in the StateDuma in one day two pipes at once ruptured on the fifth floor of thenew building. From there onto the hardwood floor gushed hot water, asthe result of which three lower floors turned out to be flooded – thewater damaged walls, ceilings and floors.

Nor did the Federation Council (FC) have any intention of fallingbehind its colleagues. In the year 2010, it has planned to spend 136mln. rubles for the leasing of service transport for the conveyance ofsenators and employees of the chamber’s staff. In the announced tenderfrom the technical announcement it follows that for the senators theyare planning to lease premium-class automobiles, in the main «Audi A8».The cost of one such car can reach 6 mln. rubles, and a lease for ayear – more than 2.3 mln. rubles.

Perfectly understood: for the senators, having to ride around in«zhigulis» [better known as «Ladas» outside Russia–Trans.] just doesn’tseem right.

Nor are some of the regions falling behind the capital. Last year, theKaliningrad Oblast Center for Diagnostics and Consulting of Childrenand Adolescents bought an automobile for 1.3 mln rubles on account offunds of the regional budget. The configuration of the auto includes anacoustic system consisting of no fewer than 8 speaker columns, an audiosystem with a CD changer for no fewer than 6 disks, individual climatecontrol with separate settings for the driver and the front-seatpassenger, cruise control, a rear-view mirror with automatic dimming,leather seats with an electric drive motor for regulating no fewer than8 parameters, a multi-functional steering wheel, parktronics, a dynamicstabilization system, a memory package for no fewer than two drivers,remote door opening, a tire air pressure sensor, xenon headlights withwashers, improved noise insulation, active suspension.

The miracle automobile, as it turned out, was designated for the Oblast anti-terrorist commission.

We shall note that the procuracy ought to be keeping a watch on allthis spending. Turns out, it does. Only not on non-targeted spending,but on making sure it doesn’t remain modest itself. As follows from thetechnical specification of purchases, the procuracy will acquire:

  • 50 decorative dining plates with the symbols of the Procuracy-General ofthe Russian Federation (engraving with subsequent etching, bluing,nickel-plating and gilding with gold of the purest tint),
  • 20 “Rossiya” gift sets (glasses and a carafe with the coat of arms ofthe Procuracy-General, porcelain, underglaze painting with cobaltpaint, decoration with a preparation of liquid gold; metallic signs onporcelain articles and a velvet box – tin, nickel, copper, a coveringof the metal with 24-carat gold with the galvanization method)
  • 10 samovars with the symbolics of the agency (porcelain, underglaze painting).
  • sets for whisky (Italian crystal, engraving)
  • desk clocks
  • breloques with a USB flash-card
  • gift albums with jewellery knives

The VIP-souvenirs from procurator-general Yuri Chaika have also beenchosen with taste. For example, the Procuracy-General is acquiring 800hand-made day-calendars in leather bindings with the symbolics of theagency on each page…

And how is the MVD any worse than the procuracy-general? In no way atall! Here the MVD of Russia has also decided not to pinch pennies .Last year, it placed on the official state purchases site informationon a competition for the acquisition of furniture on account of thefederal budget. Among everything else, the ministry had need of “a bedwith an orthopedic mattress from a massif of European cherry, decoratednot only with hand carving, but also covered at the headboard andfootboard with a thin layer of gold in 24 carats, that is of the purest- 999th tint”.

Seeing such an orgy of luxuriousness, the governors of Russia could notrestrain themselves from the temptation of ordering something alongthose lines for themselves as well. On the eve of the New Year, Samaranbloggers noticed a report on the conducting of a competition, publishedon the official site of the Administration for the Organization ofTenders of Samara Oblast. It turned out that in March of the year 2008,the administration of the Oblast had announced a competition for theacquisition of an automobile of representative class with the highestdegree of armor plating – B6/B7, engine power of 516.7 hp, color blackmetallic. The choice of Oblast governor Vladimir Artyakov fell to oneof the most expensive and luxurious automobiles of the Mercedes-BenzS600 Guard marque. The Oblast administration ordered components for it:«multi-contour rear seats with massage function», «dynamicmulti-contour front seats with massage function», «generator ofelevated power» and a «refrigerator in back». Governor of VologdaOblast Vyacheslav Pozgalev in December of last year likewise conducteda competition for the purchase of an automobile. As a result, theOblast administration acquired a «Lexus» of the latest model with aninterior finished in leather with a «bubingo» red wood veneer, cost 4mln. 200 thsd. rubles. President of the Republic of Bashkiria MurtazaRakhimov isn’t one to lag behind his colleagues. He rides around in aMercedes automobile of the very highest S class, with a cost of 150thsd. euros. At the end of the year, bloggers also discussed withinterest the spending of the head of the administration of PrimorskyKray, Oleg Chirkunov. In the net appeared information about howcompetitions had been conducted by the administration of the governorof the Krai and the apparat of the government for the rendering ofauto-transport services for an overall sum of 6 mln. rub. for theconveyance of passengers on Volvo S80 automobiles with additionaloptions: interior finish in natural wood, rear headrests with anelectric motor for folding, cosmetic mirrors for the driver and thepassengers, a child seat. And a Toyota-Camry. With additional options:leather interior, ceiling monitor, TV/DVD tuner.

Before the New Year, the administration of Vladivostok brought joy toeverybody. In the middle of December of last year, it entered into amunicipal contract for the carrying out of works with respect to theassembly and disassembly of a large-dimension artificial Christmas treekit for a sum of more than 5.2 mln. rubles (5253600 rubles) with OOO”АMM “Vladivostok” and with OOO “Kometa” – for the carrying out ofworks with respect to the mounting, servicing and dismantling ofdecorations and illumination for this wonder-tree for a sum of morethan 5 mln. rubles (5174278.69 rubles). In such a manner, the totalcost of setting up on the central square of the city of an artificialtree and its decorating comprised nearly 10.4 mln. rubles (10427878.69)rubles.

Everything would have been fine except that a couple of days after itwas put up, the wonder-tree was blown down by the wind. Losses – thosesame 10.4 mln. rubles. They had to order a new tree, not as expensive.

After the celebration of the New Year, when everybody sobered up again,the procuracy «in connection with uncovered violations… introduced asubmission about elimination of violations of the law”. In short, itwagged its finger threateningly.

By the way, according to the draft budget of the city for the year2010, for capital repairs in all the schools and pre-school day carecenters of the city is directed all of 59.57 mln rubles. But for justone tree, which didn’t even survive until New Year’s Eve, went morethan 10 mln…

Citation:

«Something needs to be done. Enough waiting. Corruption has turnedinto a systemic problem we are duty-bound to counter this systemicproblem with a systemic response”.
President Dmitry Medvedev.