The international anti-corruption movement Transparency International has published the Corruption Perceptions Index Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) for the year 2021. This time, Russia scored 29 out of 100, ranking 136th out of 180. Angola, Liberia and Mali scored the same.
The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) is a composite index measuring perceptions of corruption in the public sector in various countries. It has been published annually since 1995 and has remained the most widely used measure of corruption in the public sector for more than two decades.
An index value of 29 indicates a very high level of perception of corruption. Russia scored one point lower in 2021 than in 2020. Mali also lost one point; the other countries with which Russia had an equal score a year ago were either unchanged (Azerbaijan, 30 points) or improved (Gabon, 31 points, +1; Malawi, 35 points; +5).
Trouble at the top, COVID-19 and human rights
As anti-corruption efforts stagnate worldwide, human rights and democracy are also under assault.
This is no coincidence. Our latest analysis shows that protecting human rights is crucial in the fight against corruption: countries with well-protected civil liberties generally score higher on the CPI, while countries who violate civil liberties tend to score lower.
The global COVID-19 pandemic has also been used in many countries as an excuse to curtail basic freedoms and side-step important checks and balances.
The year-on-year comparison of countries using the current CPI methodology is valid from 2012 onwards. Russia’s score has fluctuated little over the years, reflecting a lack of systemic change for the better in the area of anti-corruption.
«Small fluctuations in the Index do not tell us anything about the level of corruption in the country – we need to look at the trend. To really improve the country’s position in the CPI, not only should anti-corruption reforms be implemented, but also the real prosecution of corrupt officials and the inevitability of punishment should be demonstrated».
With any non-state initiatives broadcasting alternative views being squeezed out of the public arena, the public loses the chance to participate in politically significant decision-making. This, in turn, leads to a lack of accountability on the part of the state and public officials, the concealment of information and a reduction in the number of reliable sources of information.
The government is accumulating more and more information of value for public scrutiny. However, it is from the public that this information is increasingly hidden. The number of public officials whose income and assets are published is steadily decreasing. More and more information about procurements made by government agencies is also becoming inaccessible to public scrutiny.
The lack of legislative protection for whistleblowers of corruption remains a serious problem. The implementation of many of the anti-corruption reform commitments made by Russia, in particular through the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) and at the Anti-Corruption Summit in London, is also stagnant.
Disclosure of and access to information of public interest, active involvement of the public in anti-corruption activities and adherence to best anti-corruption practices, including through cooperation with international institutions, should be the main benchmarks for improving the effectiveness and quality of public administration.
Fair enforcement, as well as policies and laws designed to change corrupt systems, relationships and connections, will inevitably lead to the alleviation of divisions in society, the spread of transparency and accountability, and the fullest realisation of the rights of all Russian citizens.
«Systemic anti-corruption efforts are impossible without the participation of active citizens who are well aware of the negative effects of corruption and who share the values of transparency and accountability.
“Transparency is engaged in anti-corruption education strategically. Our anti-corruption education programmes – the University Transparency Lab, the District Anti-corruption School and others – last year alone attracted 1,363 participants. This year we are launching a practical anti-corruption course at the Free University and educational events for businesswomen and the arts.
Mass education about the negative effects of corruption and the damage it causes to the general welfare reduces tolerance for all forms of corrupt behaviour in society. This value transformation becomes a sign of the times and creates a clear demand for anti-corruption.
We expect that our efforts to reduce tolerance to corruption will be supported by members of society, business and government alike. And we know that together we can change our common future.