The focus groups, nationally representative survey and elite in-depth interviews have generated a large amount of data. It is not possible to present all findings in this report. Partial findings have previously been highlighted in our progress reports. Below we present findings from the 350 elite in-depth interviews on corruption:
Most writings on corruption in Russia suggest that corruption is primarily a result of transition. What is more, some analysts believe that as transition progresses corruption will decrease. Others claim that corruption in post-communist states is cyclic. Consequently, it might increase or decrease during different stages of transition. Finally, Russian analysts claim that contemporary corruption in Russia is to a large extent 'informed' by the corruption that existed in tsarist times.
Our data show that whilst nearly 50% of the statements made by Russian elites suggest that transition is to blame for corruption in their country, there is also considerable support for the thesis that corruption is primarily a result of national culture (national psychology; national history).
Elites to a lesser extent believe that the Soviet period is to blame for today's corruption. Corruption received limited media coverage in Russia until the late 1970s/early 1980s - which helps explain our findings. Another explanation might be that some of the elites interviewed by us - especially those in the Russian regions - are older people who belonged to the elite, and thus the establishment, also before the collapse of the Soviet Union. The fact that Soviet-style corruption to some extent differed from transition-style corruption also helps explain our findings.
The large majority of the elites interviewed by us said they had not been asked to, or voluntarily given, a bribe (71 and 81 per cent, respectively). However, nearly half admitted that they had used connections. Whilst the majority of the elites found bribes unacceptable, they did make some exceptions. In life-or-death situations (health) bribes could be excused.It would also be morally acceptable to give bribes to prevent illegal prosecution.
Some of the elites who objected to bribery for normative reasons hinted that they found the act of accepting a bribe more apprehensive than the act of giving a bribe.
Using connections to obtain employment, on the other hand, was widely accepted and viewed as the only way in which to secure a job in Russia. However, some elites were concerned that the best qualified people might lose out. Several respondents voiced their contempt for unqualified people who hold high office simply because they know the right people. There was some concern amongst Russian elites that such people act as a brake on Russian socio-economic development and modernisation.
All the elites interviewed were aware of anti-corruption measures - mostly of those that have been introduced in the government administration. A majority (78 per cent) were aware of anti-corruption measures that have been introduced in their own secctor. A slight majority (57 per cent) believe that such measures are likely to have an impact - compared to 23 per cent who do not. 20 per cent of the respondents did not provide an answer to our question.
Finally, the majority of the elites believed that the most efficient manner in which to combat corruption in Russia would be to change people's mentality (54 per cent) - rather than introducing new laws and regulations (10 per cent), ensuring stricter implementation of laws and regulations (29 per cent) or strengthening Russian anti-corruption bodies (7 per cent).
Corruption has been singled out as the major challenge to the rule of law and socio-economic development in Russia - including by both Presidents Medvedev and Putin. Quite a lot is known about public perceptions of corruption, formal and informal mechani sms facilitating corruption, sector-specific corruption, the views of the ruling elites on the problem of corruption, and Russian anti-corruption strategies. We know much less about contemporary Russian legal culture; local notions of what does and does not constitute corruption; and the interplay between legal culture, corruption and law-enforcement.
This project aims to fil this gap by providing a "thick description" of Russian legal culture - incl. local understandings of the term corruption - and it s impact on law-enforcement in Russia. This will be done by mapping the perceptions, attitudes, expectations and personal experiences of legal outsiders & insiders on: (1) law; (2) the role of law - incl. rule of law; (3) legal transfers; (4) legal outs iders; (5) legal insiders; (6) the concept of corruption; (7) trust; (8) law enforcement - incl. expectations of it; and (9) the manner in which law-enforcement deals with corruption.
Large-scale qualitative & quantitative data will be collected througho ut Russia: in wealthy & poor areas, urban and rural areas within each one of them; and in Muslim & non-Muslim areas - by means of focus groups, a nationally representative survey & Muslim booster, and structured & open-ended elite in-depth interviews.
P artial qualitative and quantitative data on (1)-(5) will be compared with same-type data already collected in several West and East European countries with a view to placing Russian legal culture in a broader, European context.
Project data will be utilis ed both for academic purposes and policy prescription. Key project findings will be actively communicated to Norwegian, Russian & European policy makers throughout the project period.