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Kickbacks and the Olympic Test in Sochi

Writing in the Moscow Times, Alexei Bayer doesn’t believe that the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi are going to go very well, and not because the developers won’t be able to finish all the buildings and infrastructure.  “There are many things that could go wrong — and knowing Russia’s history, most of them will,” he writes, pointing to the weather, proximity to a terrorism prone region, a lack of multilingual volunteers, and the overall challenge of organization in today’s Russia.  (emphasis below is mine)

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the bureaucratic infrastructure in Russia has disintegrated. Or rather, it has been privatized. Officials at every level have stopped doing their jobs and have become more like feudal lords, using their position either to siphon money from the budget or get kickbacks from the people they are supposed to serve. In the Soviet Union, the bureaucracy was unwieldy and inefficient. Today, bureaucrats simply refuse to do anything unless they see an opportunity to make some money on the side.

Hmm… that stuff about kickbacks and the corruption of the bureaucracy sounds really familiar.  I wonder who might have made the following statement, and why nothing has been done about it?

It is obvious that most regulatory procedures are a mere formality, unfortunately. More often than not inspections are carried out to collect kickbacks rather than inspect anything. This situation cannot be tolerated by ordinary people, businesses and the government. If we want to improve the business environment, which is a must, and encourage the development of small and medium-sized businesses, we must overhaul these procedures, and above all, the very nature of our regulation and supervision.