Protect Yourself from Russian Corruption

Very interesting interview with Alexei Navalny in the Los Angeles Times.

Last November you made a report to the U.S. Helsinki Commission about corruption in Russia. What were your recommendations and what was the reaction?

I said that U.S. authorities don’t need to resolve Russian problems but they need to protect their countrymen from corruption spreading from Russia, because when corrupt businessmen and officials embezzle money in Russia, they invest it in the West, including the United States, where it is a federal crime called money-laundering.

At the same time, investment funds invest billions of dollars into Russian companies, and if within the framework of their corporate social responsibility they took up measures to compel Russian companies to observe elementary business ethics, that could be a tremendous contribution to fighting corruption in Russia, I said. It is one thing when the struggle against corruption in Gazprom is a demand set by myself, and it is quite different when this is the demand of Black Rock or U.S. pension funds, mutual funds and all the rest.

So my message … was this: Protect yourselves and thus you will help us. On the whole my position was met with understanding, but so far there has been little practical progress.