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Russia’s shocking corruption belies Medvedev’s tough rhetoric


Everyone knows that Russia is corrupt, but did you know just how corrupt? The short answer is: more than any other country. That, at least, is the conclusion of a survey just published by PricewaterhouseCoopers, which examines the level of economic crime around the world.


PwC canvassed more than 3,000 companies in 55 countries, 89 of them in Russia. It asked them if they had been the victim of frauds such as embezzlement, bribery and crooked accounting. Russia topped the list, with 71% of respondents reporting at least one instance of fraud during the previous twelve months.


The PwC report makes alarming reading for potential investors. The extent of fraud in Russia is even worse than in Kenya (67%) or South Africa (62%), the next countries down the list. Russia’s score was also far above the global average (30%), as well as the averages for Central and Eastern Europe (34%) and BRIC countries (34%). What’s more, there has been a “shocking” rise in the prevelance of fraud in Russia since the last PwC survey in 2007. 


The report comes just a few days after Transparency International published its annual Corruption Perceptions Index, in which Russia scored lamentably in 146th place, level-pegging with Zimbabwe and Sierra Leone.

Why Russia needs America


In the wake of President Obama’s decision to scrap the U.S. missile defence shield in eastern Europe, many are pondering Russia’s response. The relationship will remain in the spotlight this week, when President Medvedev heads to the U.S. for the G20 summit. Although the precise nature of Russia’s reaction remains to be seen, it has a big incentive to improve relations. It badly needs American investment and co-operation to help solve serious economic problems at home.

Critics of Obama’s decision worry that it will “embolden” Russia, causing more aggressive behaviour abroad. Yet they forget that the Bush administration’s antagonistic policies failed to provide security to Russia’s neighbours. These policies didn’t prevent Russia’s war with Georgia, the repeated gas disputes with Ukraine, and a serious cooling of relations with countries such as Poland. Far from being restrained, Russia’s confrontational attitude had a lot to do with its perception that the U.S. was busy encircling the country with missile bases and alliances.

from Rolfe Winkler:

Medvedev’s coin

New and interesting currencies seem to be the order of the day.

California has IOUs...


Stacy-Marie Ishmael has all the details over at Alphaville.