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This is the thirteenth in a series of guest publications and translations which The Henry Jackson Society is producing by arrangement with Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty. This publication was written by Mark Galeotti.
According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD), then across the first half of the year, the size of the average bribe has almost doubled, up 91 percent from 109,000 to 208,000 rubles. A striking figure, but what is especially interesting is that when compared with the ruble-to-dollar rate, the rise is quite moderate, from $3,050 to $3,315. This figure of 208,000 rubles is also not too far from the median. In other words, this is not an average between a large number of bribes of a few thousand and a handful of million-rubles payments, but instead suggests that the typical bribe is in the 150,000-200,000 ruble range. What this means can be summed up in the experiences of Evgeny, a middle-ranking academic at one of Moscow’s universities. He always knew that some students were paying to get into the university, and occasionally students had offered him bribes – in the thousands or at most tens of thousands of rubles – to get good grades or, more often, to avoid failing. “If I felt the student had just been unlucky, if they deserved to do better, then sure I took the money. We can always use some more. But if they had just not worked, had a bad attitude, then bad luck.”