RBTH: Polls: Corporate corruption in Russia falls to U.S. level

Cropped File Photo of Two Men in Business Suits Shaking Hands and Passing Cash

Russian companies have recorded a drop in the number of kickbacks and bribes in their sectors, a study by Ernst & Young has revealed. According to the survey, corporate corruption in Russia has dropped so much that it is now on a par with the U.S. A similar conclusion has been reached by experts from PwC. (Russia Beyond the Headlines […]

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VIDEO & NEWSWATCH PBS: “Two years into new regime, grim realities persist in Ukraine”

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

Ukraine has faced many challenges in the two years since violent protests drove the country’s president from office. The Russian occupation of the Crimean Peninsula in particular sparked a military conflict between pro-Russian secessionists and Ukraine’s government. Correspondent Kira Kay and Producer Jason Maloney from the Bureau for International Reporting take us inside Ukraine to asses the country’s struggle for […]

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Same Level of Corruption Recorded in Russian, U.S. Businesses – Survey

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 23, 2016) Thirty-four percent of respondents in Russia and and the United States agree that bribery and corruption are widespread in their country, a survey by multinational financial services company EY reported. The survey results show business professionals in both countries agreed that corruption in business was widespread in their respective nations. EY – […]

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Were the Panama Papers Planted? Who Cares.

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – April 15, 2016) Last week, a respected Russia scholar in the U.S. speculated that the Kremlin might be behind the so-called Panama Papers, the big dump of data about offshore accounts that has implicated several countries’ officials in shady dealings. And on Thursday, President Vladimir Putin of Russia blamed the U.S. for the […]

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In Ukraine, Expats and Romantics Are Out

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – April 15, 2016) The new Ukrainian cabinet, confirmed by the parliament on Thursday, is more interesting for the people it doesn’t include than for those it does. Ukraine’s experiment with bringing foreign reformers and private sector professionals into the government is now officially over, and it has failed. President Petro Poroshenko tapped his […]

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How Greed and Incompetence Put Russia’s Heritage at Risk

Novodevichy Convent file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ekaterina Motyakina – April 14, 2016) The Novodevichy convent is a rare glimpse of tranquility in Russia’s bustling capital. Perched on the banks of the Bolshoi Novodevichny Lake, the convent’s golden domes and soaring bell towers have given refuge to Moscow’s needy since the 16th century. When cultural and scientific agency UNESCO designated it a […]

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On My Mind

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – April 11, 2016) In many ways, corruption is the new communism. The Soviet Union sought to spread communism and establish a bloc of nations loyal to Moscow. Vladimir Putin’s Russia seeks to spread its corrupt business model to establish a bloc of nations dependent upon Moscow. The Soviet Union tried to co-opt Westerners […]

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The pitchforks are coming; Farm workers in the depths of southern Russia are hardly a protest constituency, but corruption and corporate raids have pushed them to the brink. They may even take their grievances to Moscow – by tractor.

Russia Regions Map

(opendemocracy.net – Svetlana Bolotnikova – April 7, 2016) Svetlana Bolotnikova is a Russian journalist and correspondent for KavPolit, an online publication specialising in political developments in the Caucasus. Aleksei Volchenko, 37, is a farmer in Kalininsky district, in the Kuban area of southern Russia. There are no large cities or towns here, just stanitsy, Cossack villages. Residents either work their […]

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Panama Papers scandal: What was the reaction in Russia?

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Even though most Russian newspapers wrote about the discovery of the Panama offshore bank accounts belonging to politicians and businessmen close to Vladimir Putin, public reaction to the scandal was rather muted. Russians exchanged jokes and comments about the information policy of the main Russian TV channels, which, unlike the newspapers, did not report on the scandalous leak. (Russia Beyond […]

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Most Russians Think Government Corruption Is ‘Unacceptable’ – Poll

Cropped File Photo of Two Men in Business Suits Shaking Hands and Passing Cash

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 7, 2016) The majority of Russians (62 percent) believe corruption in government is wholly unacceptable and a further 27 percent believe it can never be condoned, a poll released on Friday by the independent Levada center pollster indicated. On the number of top government officials involved in corruption, 44 percent believe that the majority […]

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Putin calls free press enemy of frauds, bribers, not administration

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

ST. PETERSBURG. April 7 (Interfax) – The free press can be an enemy only for frauds and bribers, not the administration as such, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. “The free press can only be an enemy for frauds, bribers and criminals, but there can be no such situation for the administration as such, which is serving people,” Putin said at […]

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Russian Prosecutor General’s Office to Investigate Panama Papers

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 5, 2016) The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office will investigate data contained in the Panama Papers about Russians involved in offshore companies, press secretary Alexandr Kurennoi said Tuesday, the Interfax news agency reported. “The main goal of the inquiry will be to find out if Russian nationals mentioned in the documents acted according to the […]

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Putin’s a Pauper, His Friends Are Rich

Putin Descending a Staircase

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – April 4, 2016) Recent reports by two consortia of investigative journalists purport to have exposed the dealings and offshore accounts of some of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s closest associates. They don’t name him as a beneficiary of any account, suggesting that Putin is as poor as a church mouse — or would be […]

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Panama Papers scandal: Who is Russia’s Sergei Roldugin?

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

One of the sections of the international journalistic investigation into corruption offshore networks used by the world’s rich and powerful is devoted specifically to Russia. It focuses on renowned cellist Sergei Roldugin, who is also godfather to one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s daughters. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – YEKATERINA SINELSCHIKOVA, RBTH – April 5, 2016) On Sunday […]

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‘Nothing To See Here’: Russia Shrugs At Latest Allegations Against Putin

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Robert Coalson -April 1, 2016) Earlier this week, Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov warned that Western media outlets planned an “information dump” aimed “personally” at President Vladimir Putin with the intention of “disrupting the situation in the country.” A couple days later, on March 31, the Reuters news agency published a report on alleged connections […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin associates had $2 billion in offshore accounts, report says” – Washington Post

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An international collection of journalists published a report Sunday on the financial activities of a dozen current and former world leaders that said associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin have moved as much as $2 billion through offshore accounts. …  based on a data leak of 11.5 million records for 214,488 entities connected to people in more than 200 countries or territories. […]

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NEWSWATCH AP: “The Latest: Russian media keep mum on offshore scandal”

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Russian media are keeping mum about the $2 billion found in offshore accounts linked to close friends of President Vladimir Putin. … an international coalition of more than 100 media outlets … details how politicians use banks, law firms and offshore shell companies to hide their assets. Putin’s close friends including a cellist from St. Petersburg were shown to be […]

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NEWSWATCH Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP): “UKRAINE: THE PRESIDENT’S OFFSHORE TAX PLAN”

Petro Poroshenko file photo, with additional men in background, adapted from image at state.gov

… actions by his financial advisers and Poroshenko himself … worth an estimated US$ 858 million, make it appear that the candy magnate was more concerned about his own welfare than his country’s – going so far as to arguably violate the law twice, misrepresent information and deprive his country of badly needed tax dollars during a time of war. […]

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WADA banned meldonium without studying period of its withdrawal from athletes’ blood – Mutko

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

MOSCOW. March 22 (Interfax) – Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko has said that the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) did not publish the results of research on meldonium before banning this substance. “It is necessary to thoroughly examine the problems of this substance’s [meldonium] withdrawal and retention in blood. We have received a reply from WADA that they did not do […]

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Interfax: Putin requests not to promote ‘conspiracy theory’ regarding doping scandal

Olympic Rings Lit at Night, adapted from image at state.gov

(Interfax – March 16, 2016) Russian President Vladimir Putin has called on the chiefs of the Russian sports to refrain from politicizing the situation related to the meldonium use and from framing a ‘conspiracy theory’ with regard to Russian athletes. “Firstly, nothing should be politicized and no conspiracy theory should be promoted,” Putin said at his meeting with government members, […]

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Russia May Label Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation ‘Foreign Agent’

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anastasia Bazenkova – March 16, 2016) The All-Russian Interethnic Union of Youth has filed a request with the Russian Justice Ministry that they add the Anti-Corruption Foundation NGO – headed by the oppositioner Alexei Navalny – to its list of “foreign agents.” The group also requested that the Prosecutor General’s Office investigate Navalny for inciting […]

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Top U.S. Official: Ukraine Reforms Endangered By Oligarchs Fighting Back

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – WASHINGTON, March 15, 2016) A top U.S. administration official has taken pointed aim at the wealthiest Ukrainian tycoons, known as oligarchs, accusing them of undermining the country’s anticorruption reform efforts. Victoria Nuland, assistant secretary of state for European аnd Eurasian Affairs, warned on March 15 that, if efforts to liberalize the economy and fight endemic graft […]

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Who’s to blame for the meldonium: Russia’s athletes, doctors or officials?

Olympic Rings Lit at Night, adapted from image at state.gov

The drug that has been banned since January 2016 may lead to the disqualification of several leading Russian athletes in the wake of the Maria Sharapova scandal. However, Russian officials and athletics insiders disagree on who should take responsibility for the latest doping debacle to engulf Russian sports. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – TIMUR GANEEV, SPECIAL TO RBTH […]

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‘Putin’s Children’ – Life, Crime, Terror on the Edge of Russia

Russia Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Oliver Carroll – February 26, 2016) The driver’s voice teeters between depression and aggression. “What kinduva life do yoo call this?!” he shouts. “Weerrall peepul … peeeeepul, for sheeettin sake! … Fook, Ruussia, yoo make me want to cry!” We veer from side to side of the snow-covered track. Outside, the mercury pushes twenty under, […]

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‘Why Didn’t You Run?’ – The Inside Story on the Arrest of Russian Billionaire Dmitry Kamenshchik

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Hobson – February 25, 2016) On the morning of Feb. 18, Dmitry Kamenshchik, Russia’s 27th-richest tycoon, packed a backpack with some spare clothes, a toothbrush, and shoes without laces – the essentials for a stint in prison. The billionaire owner of Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport was unemotional, says his lawyer. Ten days earlier, three current […]

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Something’s Rotten in the State of Ukraine; International aid groups grow impatient with the government.

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Ragozin – February 18, 2016) Two years have passed since a popular uprising in Kiev toppled a Russia-backed regime in Ukraine. The glory of that people power moment has faded, and Western supporters are losing patience with the government as corruption hampers efforts to jump-start the economy. The gross domestic product of the war-plagued country […]

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Moscow’s Overnight Demolition Blitz Sparks Legal Debate

Snowy Night on Red Square with Old St. Basil's Lit Up

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova, Vasily Kolotilov – February 11, 2016) You could hear a young woman yelling, but her voice was diluted in the sound of bulldozers, smashed glass and metal. “What are you doing?! There are people still in there! Stop it!” she said. Several police officers stood outside, watching the bulldozer do its work without […]

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NEWSLINK: “Amid recession and predatory officials, Russia’s small businesses hang on. Small businesses are a small part of Russia’s oligarch-dominated economy. But despite the headwinds they face – and the instability they could bring to the current order – they are showing resilience amid the downturn.” – Christian Science Monitor

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What Do Russians Really Think? The Truth Behind the Polls

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Eva Hartog – February 4, 2016) [Charts here http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/what-do-russians-really-think-the-truth-behind-the-polls/558537.html] The champagne corks were already popping for New Year’s Eve celebrations when several thousand Crimeans received an unexpected phone call. The voice on the end of the phone was a pollster from the Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM). The pollster had just two questions:”Do you […]

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U.S. Senator Predicts Revelations Of Putin’s Wealth Will Destabilize His Rule

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – February 1, 2016) A senior U.S. lawmaker says revelations about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s wealth will be “destabilizing” to his rule as the Russian population becomes increasingly aware of them. U.S. Senator Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told Voice Of America on February 1 that the Russian people “are beginning […]

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Has the crisis driven back corruption in Russia?

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The British television channel BBC One has reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s personal fortune totals $40 billion. At the same time, Putin himself has ordered officials to act “tough” in returning everything stolen and taken out of Russia. Could the economic crisis lead to a reduction in corruption in the country? (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – YEKATERINA […]

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Russia Improves Position in International Corruption Rating

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 27, 2016) Russia was ranked 119th – together with Azerbaijan, Guyana and Sierra Leone – in Transparency International’s 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index, up 17 points from its 2014 position. The rating was published on Transparency International’s website. In the 2014 index, Russia was ranked 136th, just behind Nigeria. Russia was 127th in 2013 and […]

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Ukraine’s Graft Fight Shows Little Progress, Transparency Says

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Volodymyr Verbyany – January 27, 2016) Ukraine’s efforts to stamp out corruption last year brought scant progress, according to Transparency International, which said civil society, journalists and whistle-blowers have been more effective than government officials in combating graft. The former Soviet republic’s score rose “only one additional point” in the 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index, the Berlin-based […]

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