Effectiveness of legislative measures to counter corruption

Published Date:

A survey of 1611 adults aged 18 and above residing in 120 settlements of 48 subjects of the Russian Federation took place on 13-16 September 2014. The Resource Center for Sociological and Internet Research of the St.Petersburg State University conducted the survey at the place of respondents’ residence and using a sample representative of adult population of the Russian Federation. The sampling error is ±2.5%.
Russians believe corruption is one of the most significant and urgent problems. However, the public opinion does not view corruption as the most significant problem. According to the survey results, only one out of four Russians thinks that combating corruption should become a priority, the most important goal for the Russian authorities. Agreeing with the idea that combating corruption is an important task, more Russians (48.6%) said corruption is one of equally important tasks the Russian authorities should focus on in the first place.

Nonetheless, about half (49.6%) of Russians believe the level of corruption in their region is very high or rather high. About one out of three (31.5%) Russians thinks corruption is neither high, nor low in the region where he/she lives.
This stereotype is rather steady and is not likely to change despite the fact that the number of respondents who face the facts of corruption is half the number of those who reported about corruption. At the same time, these numbers are quite alarming. On average, in 2014 one out of five Russians told about a situation when it became clear that in order to get the issue resolved he/she had to pay (unofficially) or provide some service to an official.
The facts of corruption faced and reported about concern the so-called everyday matters corruption. Excluding GIBDD (State Road Traffic Inspection), more often respondents have to pay extra in hospitals and clinics, institutions of education and to personnel in housing and communal services.
Most repelling is the fact that in most cases potential bribe takers hinted bluntly or indirectly at a bribe (47.8%). Besides other things, this shows that officials have no fears for their actions. In addition, this suggests that the bribe mechanism works effectively for bribe givers in most cases. This, evidently, helps keep to some degree this social institute thriving.
Only 3.2% of surveyed bribe-givers said a bribe given did not accomplish what they wanted, a bribe had no effect on the result (failed to resolve the issue). Others acknowledged that the bribe helped with the following: to get the issue resolved faster (27.5%), to get the issue resolved with better quality (22.3%) and to avoid extra difficulties (38.5%).
These responses show hints if not of acceptance than of evident endorsement. This endorsing attitude is more profound in responses of those who refused to give bribes in similar situations.
When explaining the reasons of no giving bribes, only 9.3% of respondents said they were disgusted to do so. Another quarter (23.5%) of those who gave no bribes described themselves as those who give no bribes as a matter of principle.
Other answers did not qualify as civil acts and included the following: a) “a bribe was too expensive for me” (14.8%), b) “I chose a different way for resolving my issue” (8.0%), c) “I couldn’t, don’t know how to do this” (2.5%).
One out of ten (9.9%) respondents said he/she did not give a bribe but did not want to give reasons for not giving the bribe. Another one-third (29.6%) of Russians who chose not to give a bribe refused to answer.
The two latter categories of surveyed are less likely to fall into a category of principle fighters against corruption as a negative social institute. At least, they did not choose such response categories as “I do not give bribes as a matter of principle” and “I was disgusted to give a bribe”.
Nonetheless, the survey results showed very harsh attitudes towards the corrupted among the population majority.
Only a small minority (about one-fifth of respondents) agree that large fines are an adequate punishment for corruption. The majority demands harsher punishment such as deprivation of liberty -39.6%, compulsory labor with withholding of part of earnings – 31.5%.
The majority (59.6%) of Russians believe a recent decision about imposing on a bribe taker/giver a fine one or several times the amount of the bribe received had no effect on combating corruption. Therefore, public support of the idea to fine bribe takers/givers is week. Only 15.7% of respondents think the decision to fine bribe takers/givers had effect on countering corruption, another 24.7% refused to answer.
At the same time, some respondents think that a convicted person should take a harsher punishment if he/she fails to pay the fine. If a convicted person cannot pay the fine, his/her property should be foreclosed (28.4%).
The qualified majority (74.6%) of the population favors the idea of making confiscation of property a compulsory procedure applied to any crimes of corruption whatsoever. Related to this, more Russians (38.2%) favor the strengthening of provisions in the Penal Code. About one-third (29.6%) of respondents believes that to achieve greater responsibility for corruption related offences is to increase compliance with the existing legal framework.
Fewer than one out of four (23.5%) respondent thinks corruption combating should be happening not through criminal legislation but through improving public service functioning.
One focal question of the all-Russia survey was the current role of local authorities in combating corruption. The survey results show that population assess the role of local authorities as passive at best: authorities can but do not wish to fight against corruption. The focal idea of public opinion is that authorities do not wish to combat the evil of corruption as a matter of principle. In total, 55.7% of Russians agree with the following statements: “Authorities of our region can but do not wish to counter corruption effectively” and “Authorities of our region do not wish and cannot counter corruption effectively”.
 

Question: “The problem of corruption and the need to combat it are widely discussed today. Compared to other problems our country faces currently, how important do you think corruption is?” (closed question, one answer), %

  %
Combating corruption should be the most important task for the Russian authorities 25,0
Combating corruption is one of equally important tasks for the Russian authorities 48,6
The authorities should focus on today’s urgent problems other than corruption. However, they should counter corruption. 22,3
Refused to answer 4,0

 

Question: “How urgent is combating corruption for the authorities in your region?” (closed question, one answer), %

  %
Combating corruption should be the most important task for the Russian authorities 23,3
Combating corruption is one of equally important tasks for the Russian authorities 45,9
The authorities should focus on today’s urgent problems other than corruption. However, they should counter corruption. 23,8
Refused to answer 7,0

 

Question: “How high do you think is the current level of corruption in your region: very high, quite high, neither high, nor low, quite low, very low, practically no corruption?” (closed question, one answer), %

  %
Very high 20,5
Quite high 29,1
Neither high, nor low 31,5
Quite low 6,4
Very low, practically no corruption 1,1
Refused to answer 11,5

 

Question: “Compared to last year, the situation with corruption in you region has become better, become worse or stayed the same?” (closed question, one answer), %

  %
It became much better 20,5
It became slightly better 29,1
It became slightly worse 31,5
It became much worse 6,4
It stayed the same 1,1
Refused to answer 11,5

 

Question: “In 2014, did you happen to experience corruption, that is, to be in a situation when it became clear that in order to get an issue resolved you have to pay an official personally (unofficially) or provide some service(s) to him/her?” (closed question, one answer), %

  %
Yes, I happened to be in such situation 22,1
No, I did not happen to be in such situation 73,8
Refused to answer 4,1

 

Question: “As a result, did you have to give money to the official (give a present, provide some service(s), etc.) to get your issue resolved?” (closed question, one answer), %

  %
Yes, I did have 68,4
No, I did not. I chose not to participate in this. 29,1
Refused to answer 2,6

 

Question: “In which organizations did you happen to experience corruption when trying to contact them?” (closed question, one answer), %

  %
Hospitals, clinics 42,2
Institutions of secondary education 12,0
Kinder-gardens 17,7
Institutions of higher education 13,3
GIBDD (State Road Traffic Inspection), 32,1
Internal affairs bodies 8,4
Customs 2,0
Court 4,4
Prosecutor’s Office 4,0
Army 1,6
Housing and communal services 12,9
Tax authorities 1,6
UFMS (Federal migration services) 4,0
Other 1,2
Refused to answer 8,8
Rejected to answer  

 

Question: “Could you describe the situation when you had to give money (give a present, provide some service(s))?” (closed question, one answer, of those who happened to be in such situation)

  %
An official hinted bluntly that I need to do this (give money, or a present, provide some service(s)) 47,8
I knew in advance that I need to do this (give money, or a present, provide some service(s)) 38,9
Nobody asked for it, nobody hinted at it. I decided to give a bribe to secure my issue gets resolved. 8,9
Refused to answer 4,5

 

Question: “Did giving money (giving a present, providing some service(s)) help achieve what you wanted?” (closed question, one answer, of those who happened to be in such situation)

  %
My issue got resolved faster 27,5
My issue got resolved with better quality 22,3
I managed to avoid extra difficulties 38,5
My issue got not resolved 3,2
Refused to answer 1,6
Do not want to answer 6,9

 

Question: “What was the reason behind your decision not to participate in such situation?” (closed question, one answer, of those who chose not to participate in such situation)

   
I was disgusted to give a bribe 9,3
A bribe was too expensive for me 14,8
I couldn’t, don’t know how to do this 2,5
As a matter of principle, I give no bribes 23,5
I chose a different way for resolving my issue 8,0
I was afraid of being caught (punished) 0,6
Other reason 4,3
Do not want to answer 9,9
Refused to say 29,6

 

Question: “Who do you think is guiltier – the one who takes bribes or the one who gives bribes?” (closed question, one answer)

  %
The one who takes bribes 32,1
The one who gives bribes 8,3
Both are equally guilty 52,9
Refused to answer 4,2
Rejected to answer 2,6

 

Question: “Do you know what measures against corruption the Federal authorities are taking?” (closed question, one answer)

  %
Yes, I do. I follow this issue on a constant basis. 5,3
Yes, I do. But, I do not follow this issue on a constant basis. 20,7
I’ve heard about the measures. But, I have no exact idea what they are. 39,5
I have no idea about the measures. 30,7
Refused to answer 3,7

 

Question: “Which of the following statements about your local authorities’ abilities and readiness to counter corruption do you agree with?” (closed question, one answer)

  %
Local authorities wish and can effectively fight against corruption 9,7
Local authorities wish but cannot effectively fight against corruption 21,5
Local authorities can but do not wish to fight against corruption effectively 39,1
Local authorities do not wish and cannot effectively fight against corruption 16,6
Refused to answer 13,1

 

Question: “To counter corruption, which measures in the existing legal framework could become most effective?” (closed question, one answer)

  %
To strengthen provisions in the Penal Code 38,2
To improve public service functioning 23,5
To increase compliance with the existing legal framework 29,6
Refused to answer 8,6

 

Question: “What penalty do you think should be imposed on bribe taker/giver to stop corruption related offences?” (closed question, one answer)

  %
Large fines 22,2
Compulsory labor with withholding of part of earnings 31,5
Deprivation of liberty 39,6
Refused to answer 6,8

 

Question: “Do you think a recent decision about imposing on a bribe taker/giver a fine one or several times the amount of the bribe received helped combat corruption effectively or did not help to combat corruption effectively?” (closed question, one answer)

  %
It helped combat corruption effectively 15,7
It did not help combat corruption effectively 59,6
Refused to answer 24,7

 

Question: “Do you think it can happen that a fine one or several times the amount of the bribe received will never be paid by a bribe taker/giver?” (closed question, one answer)

  %
Yes, it can happen 25,3
It can rather happen than not happen 41,5
It can rather not happen than happen 13,1
No, it cannot happen 6,3
Refused to answer 13,8

 

Question: “Compared to other fines, a fine, one or several times the amount of the bribe received, will be too much of a punishment for such crimes, quite tangible but not excessive punishment for such crimes, or equivalent to other fines?” (closed question, one answer)

  %
It will be too much of a punishment for such crimes 5,7
It will be quite tangible but not excessive punishment for such crimes 39,7
It will be equivalent to other fines 37,1
Refused to answer 17,4

 

Question: “When do you think is appropriate to call failure of paying the fine by a bribe taker/giver a deliberate refusal?” (closed question, one answer)

  %
When a bribe taker/giver does not pay a fine despite having the means for it 47,3
When a bribe taker/giver does not pay a fine regardless whether he/she has the means for it 40,3
Refused to answer 12,4

 

Question: “What do you think can be a good reason for a bribe taker/giver for failing to pay the fine?” (closed question, any number of answers, % of those who happened to be in such situation)

  %
There is no such reason 30,0
Death 13,3
Life-threatening illness 15,2
Long-term damage or disability 6,3
Illness or death of close relatives 1,4
Job loss 1,6
Bankruptcy 1,8
No means (no money) 6,0
Detention 0,9
Many dependents 0,4
Other reason 3,5
Refused to answer 27,1

 

Question: “How long do you think a fine imposed on a bribe taker/giver should be in effect?” (closed question, one answer)

  %
Till conviction gets expired 13,3
There should be no expiration date. The fine should be in effect until he/she pays it. 79,5
Refused to answer 7,1

 

Question: “A question of how to improve compliance with the punishment if the convicted fails to pay the fine is currently being under consideration. What do you think needs to be done in a situation like this?” (closed question, one answer)

  %
A harsher punishment should replace a fine regardless of the reason for not paying the fine. 24,4
Apply measures of the forced debt collection, including at the expense of assets and income of the convicted regardless of the reason for not paying the fine. 38,7
Use scenario #1 if the convicted fails to pay the fine. Use scenario #2 if the convicted have no means to pay the fine. 28,4
Refused to answer 8,5

 

Question: “Do you think property foreclosures will help counter crime, including corruption related offences?” (closed question, one answer)

  %
Yes, they will help. 35,1
They will rather help, than not help. 34,4
They will rather not help, than help. 13,3
No, they will not help. 8,8
Refused to answer 8,4

 

Question: “Following your perspective, in case one commits the corruption crime, the law should presuppose the possibility of …” (closed question, one answer)

   
Forced withdrawal of property as a measure of punishment including that a convicted has legal possession of; 48,3
Forced withdrawal of from a convicted of property got only as a result of a crime or purchased on the money acquired by illegal means; 44,2
Refused to answer. 7,4

 

Question: “How do you think the property acquired by a corrupted individual by illegal means … “ (closed question, one answer)

  %
Must be confiscated obligatory. 72,2
Might be confiscated if the relevant decision was ruled by a Court depending on merits. 22,9
Refused to answer. 4,9

 

Question: “What corruption crimes should be inescapably followed by the confiscation of property?” (open question, one answer)

  %
All kinds of corruption crimes. 74,6
For the particular kinds of corruption crimes (specified by the respondent). 8,7
Refused to answer. 16,6

 

Question: “From a legal perspective, if the property obtained by illegal means is transferred to the so-called “alius” who was informed about the its corrupt origin, the property shall be subjected to confiscation then. Who, in your opinion, should be classified as “alius” in that case? (closed question, one answer)

  %
Any person regardless of his/her relationship and so on. 71,9
Only relatives (family members). 18,3
Other response. 0,9
Refused to answer. 9,0

 

Question: “What grounds, in your opinion, make the confiscation of property possessed by the alius (including the members of the family of the convicted) possible? (closed question, one answer)

  %
In accordance with the norms of the criminal code. 58,7
In civil proceedings (in a separate claim by a prosecutor). 26,3
Refused to answer. 15,0

 

Question: Is the Court’s ruling sufficient if it confirms the fact of a corruption crime for the confiscation of property possessed by an alius (including the members of family of a convicted for corruption)?

  %
Yes, the Court’s ruling is sufficient in this case. 47,5
No, the Court’s ruling is insufficient, moreover, one should prove that this property could not have been obtained by any means but by the corruption means. 41,4
Refused to answer. 11,1

 

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