Medvedev tells Russians to stop 'everyday' bribery
President Dmitry Medvedev on Wednesday said corruption permeated everyday life in Russia, warning anti-graft efforts would be fruitless unless ordinary Russians stopped handing out bribes.
"As we know, corruption always has two sides. It's not enough to blame bribetakers, bribers are no less guilty. And unfortunately a very large amount of people in our country belong to them," Medvedev told a meeting at the Kremlin.
"Not only those who give large bribes to officials at various levels but also those who commit crimes in ordinary life without thinking about it."
"What any law-abiding person in Europe would not do -- for example, bribing a policeman standing by the road with a baton -- we do without a shadow of a doubt because there's no other way to get rid of him," Medvedev said in televised remarks.
"So this is a mental problem, a problem of everyday habits, the issue of lawful behaviour from all of the country's citizens."
Corruption is the bane of Russia and Medvedev has pledged to do his best to fight corruption, with regular scandals involving unscrupulous officials hindering the Kremlin's efforts to modernise the country.
Medvedev praised law enforcement officials for ramping up their efforts in tracking down and punishing corrupt officials but said more had to be done.
"So far I don't see any significant success in this direction," he said.
Upper house speaker Sergei Mironov said that the majority of those convicted of corruption were punished for giving bribes worth between 500 rubles (16 dollars) and 3,000 rubles (98 dollars).
"In practice, the tendency of catching small fish is continuing while corruption sharks remain unpunished," Mironov said.
© 2010 AFP