, MOSCOW, Dec 9 – Corruption is soaring in Russia, with a quarter of all respondents admitting paying bribes in the past year, a survey by a respected global watchdog showed Thursday.
Highlighting the scale of the problem, nearly one in five Russians said they were even forced to pay a bribe in court, the Transparency International study showed.
But only seven percent of the respondents said they had filed complaints about the corrupt behaviour of officials, the watchdog\’s Russia director Yelena Panfilova said at a presentation of the results.
Transparency International had earlier this year ranked Russia 154th according to a 178-country corruption perception index.
Russia now finds itself near the same level as Kenya and Cambodia, and far behind such states as Colombia and Ethiopia.
The latest poll, conducted jointly with Gallup International, showed that corruption rose on the previous year in all the major sectors: health care, education, land and housing services, and the courts.
One in five Russians said they had to pay a bribe to ensure better health services, and 17.7 percent said they were forced to pay a bribe in court.
Some 26 percent said they had to bribe either the police or providers of health, education or housing services at some point during the year.
Nearly half of all respondents added that corruption had increased in their country in the past three years.
Russia\’s continued drop in the rankings comes despite President Dmitry Medvedev\’s promise after his 2008 election to make fighting corruption a top priority.
In a report released this summer, the Independent Association of Lawyers for Human Rights said corruption could amount to the equivalent of half of the country\’s gross domestic product, or 1.6 trillion dollars (1.2 billion euros).