COMMENT: Russia's corruption score seen improving

By bne IntelliNews December 4, 2012

Chris Weafer of Sberbank CIB -

One of the events expected to grab headlines this week will be the release on December 5 of Transparency International's (TI) 2012 "Corruption Perceptions Index", which is expected to show an improvement in Russia's score.

The continuing high level of corruption, both real and perceived, is one of the major issues regularly highlighted by foreign business leaders as a reason why they remain wary of Russia. The high level of "everyday" corruption is consistently ranked along with concern about rising prices in the list of issues that most concern Russian people. TI's annual Corruption Perceptions Index is one of the indicators covering this subject that is widely followed by investors as a measure of reform progress.

Russia is expected to improve its score. Last year, Russia shared 143rd place in the list of 183 countries covered by the survey with a score of 2.4 on the table, which is scored from 1 (worst) to 10 (best). At that level, it was similarly ranked with Nigeria and Uganda. Among the other major emerging markets, Turkey placed 61st, Brazil 73rd, China 75th, India 95th and Kazakhstan 120th. The much more active campaign against corruption since the formation of the new government and the clearer commitment made by Putin during the last election campaign offers the prospect of a meaningful rise in Russia's position in this year's index. It would be a surprise if that is not the case.

Bad neighbourhood

Falling popularity

At the same timer, the independent Levada_Center's latest opinion poll shows a drop in the public approval rating for both President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev. Both leaders also saw a similar drop in August that subsequently recovered, so taking one reading and extrapolating it is always dangerous and, usually, misleading. Still, a drop in public approval has previously resulted in a number of populist measures, such as the step-up in the campaign against corruption since the start of September. So, if the latest drop bolsters that campaign, allowing the president to show that he is responding to one of the two most important public concerns (the other being inflation), then it will be a good thing.

One of the possible contributory reasons to the drop in the approval rating is because there have been well-publicised rumours concerning the president's health as a result of several cancelled meetings and cancelled overseas visits. But from today, Putin has resumed a more visible role, making a rearranged official visit to Turkey and later attending the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Bishkek. The Kremlin has also confirmed that Putin will hold a televised press conference on December 20. This is in place of his usual four-hour televised public Q & A.

The other survey released by the Levada Center asked people which politician or public figure they trusted. Here also there was a drop in the poll for Putin and Medvedev, while recently appointed Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, rose further in the table. Shoigu, before his brief spell as Moscow Region's governor, was routinely (for around 10 years) voted the third most trusted political figure after the incumbent president and prime minister. At that time, he was the Emergency Situations Minister. Many people believe that Shoigu's popularity will mean he gets an even more important position in the future.

Related Articles

Drum rolls in the great disappearing act of Russia's banks

Jason Corcoran in Moscow - Russian banks are disappearing at the fastest rate ever as the country's deepening recession makes it easier for the central bank to expose money laundering, dodgy lending ... more

Kremlin: No evidence in Olympic doping allegations against Russia

bne IntelliNews - The Kremlin supported by national sports authorities has brushed aside "groundless" allegations of a mass doping scam involving Russian athletes after the World Anti-Doping Agency ... more

PROFILE: Day of reckoning comes for eccentric owner of Russian bank Uralsib

Jason Corcoran in Moscow - Revelations and mysticism may have been the stock-in-trade of Nikolai Tsvetkov’s management style, but ultimately they didn’t help him to hold on to his ... more

Register here to continue reading this article and 2 more for free or 12 months full access inc. Magazine and Weekly Newspaper for just $119/year.

If you have already registered, enter the information below with the same email you used previously and you will be granted immediate access.

IntelliNews Pro subscribers click here

Thank you. Please complete your registration by confirming your email address. A confirmation email has been sent to the email address you provided.

Thank you for purchasing a bne IntelliNews subscription. We look forward to serving you as one of our paid subscribers. An email confirmation will be sent to the email address you have provided.

To continue viewing our content you need to complete the registration process.

Please look for an email that was sent to with the subject line "Confirmation bne IntelliNews access". This email will have instructions on how to complete registration process. Please check in your "Junk" folder in case this communication was misdirected in your email system.

If you have any questions please contact us at

Subscribe to bne IntelliNews website and magazine

Subscribe to bne IntelliNews website and monthly magazine, the leading source of business, economic and financial news and commentary in emerging markets.

Your subscription includes:
  • Full access to the bne content daily news and features on the website
  • Newsletters direct to your mailbox
  • Print and digital subscription to the monthly bne magazine
  • Digital subscription to the weekly bne newspaper

IntelliNews Pro subscribers click here

bne IntelliNews
$119 per year

All prices are in US dollars net of applicable taxes.

If you have any questions please contact us at

Register for free to read bne IntelliNews Magazine. You'll receive a free digital subscription.

If you have already registered, enter the information below with the same email you used previously and you will be granted immediate access.

Thank you. Please complete your registration by confirming your email address. The confirmation email has been sent to the email address you provided.

IntelliNews Pro offers daily news updates delivered to your inbox and in-depth data reports.
Get the emerging markets newswire that financial professionals trust.

"No day starts for my team without IntelliNews Pro" — UBS

Thank-you for requesting an IntelliNews Pro trial. Our team will be in contact with you shortly.