Russia garners top spot in the list of those countries whose businesses try to pay bribes when working abroad. There are two explanations: either Russians pay bribes out of habit, or because they couldn’t sell their products without them.
MOSCOW - Outperformed in so many ways, Russian companies apparently beat their foreign competitors in at least one activity: paying bribes for international deals.
"The Bribe Payers' Index 2011," a newly released study by the anti-corruption organization Transparency International, rates the likelihood that companies from 28 different countries will pay bribes while doing business abroad. On this score, the study found Russian companies are the most corrupt.
Kirik Kabanov, an official with Russia's anti-corruption office, says that Russian companies often give bribes simply out of habit. "There is an understanding of tradition, and a more or less convenient, common working method," he says. "Like Pavlov's dogs: once you teach them something, then they will behave similarly in other situations."
Still Kabanov said some business people also see a payoff as a way to stay ahead of the competition. "We are not going to cede territory to some Chinese company just because there it's OK to use corrupt channels to reach business goals," he said.
Dimitri Abzalov, a leading expert at the Center for Current Politics in Russia, has another take. He thinks that Russian companies have to pay bribes because their products are just not good enough.
"If we are talking about low worker productivity in Russia, and the unsatisfactory level of innovation, then it is obvious that there is a competitive problem with Russian products," Abzalov says. "The more effective Russian exports are, the less necessary bribes will be for sales and expansion."
The United States used to be one of the principal countries that tracked corruption, but in the past year both Britain and China have cracked down on bribes in the business world. International corruption is one of the main agenda items at Thursday's G-20 summit in Cannes, France.
Read the original article in Russian
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Photo - Perry French