Thursday, May 13, 2010

How's that working out?

Looks like you've still got some work ahead of you, comrade:
President Dmitry Medvedev, halfway through his four-year term, has pledged to fight Russia's all-pervasive graft and build a law-abiding state, where everyone observes the rules rather than looking for ways around them.

But findings by the Levada Center showed that Russians still pay bribes to obtain better medical services, prefer to "buy" their driving licenses, bribe police when caught violating traffic rules, or pay to ensure that their child can dodge the draft or get a place at the right school.
Of course, people all over the world do things like that, and have done so since the dawn of time (or at least since the dawn of the time when people realized that things someone else values could be traded to expedite favorable cave paintings), but this is a little disturbing:
Watchdog Transparency International last November rated Russia, a G8 country, joint 146th out of 180 nations in its Corruption Perception Index, along with Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, and five other developing nations.
Um, I'm not an expert in international relations or foreign policy or anything like that, but I'm pretty sure that when a major world power with a bunch of nuclear weapons ranks near Zimbabwe on just about any list, that's somewhat problematic.

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