Russian corruption equivalent to half of GDP: report

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Corruption in Russia could be equal to as much as half of the country's gross domestic product, with jobs in the police for sale and court rulings available at a price, a report published Monday said.

"The market of corruption represents 50 percent of GDP," the Independent Association of Lawyers for Human Rights said in a report analysing more than 6,500 cases since July 2009 and citing official statistics and testimonies.

Russia's GDP was more than 1.6 trillion dollars (1.25 trillion euros) in 2008, according to World Bank data. The report did not give a precise figure on the total value of the corruption, or an explanation of how the estimate was calculated.

According to the report, the average kickback since the start of 2010 was more than 1,500 euros (1,925 dollars, 44,000 rubles).

"These figures correspond with our estimations," Ivan Nenenko of Transparency International told AFP, noting that Russia ranked 146 out of 180 countries in terms of corruption.

In the courts, lawyers act as intermediaries and work with judges to "settle the case", the report said.

In the Caucacus region of Dagestan, one of the poorest areas in Russia, bribes in criminal cases can reach 26,000 euros, and nearly 800 euros in civil cases, the report said citing the testimony of a court secretary in the city of Kizlyar who was sacked after complaining about corruption.

"The merger of the criminal world and law and order forces has a universal character," the report said.

The post of assistant district prosecutor can be bought for 7,800 euros, while a position in the traffic police costs at least 40,000 euros.

"The most prestigious jobs are the ones where the corruption is stable," the report said.

Heads of police can earn more than 15,000 euros a month and prosecutors approaching 8,000 euros, while traffic police can collect approaching 4,000 euros a month, the report said.

The average monthly salary in Russia is less than 600 euros a month.

© 2010 AFP

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