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Zero Progress on Corruption

A report in Vedomosti (translation via RT) summarizes the disappointing findings by the Anti-Corruption Research Center under Russia’s Ministry of Justice.

In 2007, 21,842 such crimes have been registered, and only 6,185 cases were brought to court – only 675 people remained under arrest, 3,650 people received conditional sentences, and 1,744 were fined. In 2009, the situation hardly changed: 23,518 offenses were registered (7.6% more than in 2007), 6,691 cases were transferred to court, 903 people were sentenced to serve time in jail, 3,694 were issued conditional sentencing, and 1,926 were fined. It turns out that in only one of every 25 registered corruption cases the offender was sentenced to serve time in jail. And, only every eighth offender, of those whose case reached trial, was jailed (in 2007, 86.9% of bribe takers were issued conditional sentence or were fined, in 2009 it was 85.2%), estimated authors of the research study. Meanwhile, the maximum punishment for such offense as abuse of authority (from three to five years jail time), has not been applied in the last two years, and the maximum punishment for bribe taking (from five to eight years) was issued to only four offenders last year.

The conclusion: efforts against corruption have not intensified.”Perhaps liability does not only fail to serve as a serious deterrent,but also does not fulfill its preventative function, putting a stop tocorruption,” conclude the authors of the research study. A positivetrend is only being observed in the fight against trivial bribery, notesViktor Astanin of the Russian Legal Academy. For 2009, the registerednumber of such crimes has risen by 10%, he says. (…)

The problem lies in the fact that fighting against corruption in asystematically corrupted country is a political issue – not a lawenforcement or judicial issue, says Elena Panfilova, director ofTransparency International in Russia. It is senseless to blamestatistics, as they could only speak for efficiency of law enforcementagencies and courts, but not for corruption.