Translation: Why Didn’t Transparency International Reveal Russia’s Bribery Data?

Why was there no bribery incidence data for Russia in Transparency International’s international survey of 2013? Andrey Kamenetsky at Odnako connects the dots to argue that it was simply because the results were too inconvenient to serve as propaganda.

A Crisis of Zombification: How Transparency International failed on The Russia Corruption Rating

Dear Readers! In July there took place two major crashes in Russia. Both of them were very revealing, but only one carried a wide resonance: the “Proton-M”rocket accident. We shall now have a talk about the second crash, which was in its own way also catastrophic.

The puzzle hasn’t been solved

I’m talking about the unexpected failure of the now traditional fun and games ratings that annually “equates Russia with Zimbabwe”. One of the leading international human rights organizations that regularly publishes its corruption ratings, Transparency International, has this time not included Russia in its bribe-taking rating because of a “technical fault” caused by the receipt of research information that had not been verified for its authenticity. Because of this, a whole row of data has been removed from the process, and instead of the usual solid news about how everything is terrible in Russia, there has spilled out into the media a whole pile of claims made against one another by the organizers.

What makes this story piquant is the fact that all the interested parties are organizations of word-wide renown. The research data customer, Transparency International, has come down on its research agent, the international sociological corporation Gallup. Even more interesting is that as the conflict widens, their representatives are beginning to remember things amongst themselves and have even started to talk, which used to be considered quite indecent.

“Judging by the received data, the question was either misunderstood or incorrectly set by the company that undertook the research”, pointed out Transparency International Research Director, Finn Heinrich.

[Read more…]

Al Jazeera On Elections And White Ribbons

Russia’s winter of discontent? from Al Jazeera’s Stream. Overall, fairly balanced. I appear at 8:50 to ask a question about the suspicious timing – two months before the actual elections – of the creation of the website promoting the White Ribbon as the symbol of the anti-Kremlin protests.

Generally speaking, I’m skeptical about the more grandiose claims of foreign involvement in the discontent. But the White Ribbon does seem to fit the bill: It’s a nice memorable meme (i.e. a good revolutionary symbol), it’s site is under a .com domain, etc. But there’s one problem – whichever idiot came up with it didn’t bother tracking down its negative historic connotations. So no wonder it hasn’t really been catching on (despite the best efforts of our good friend Edward Lucas).