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Most Russians think their country is too corrupt for them to fix

July 10, 2013
July 10, 2013

The people most skeptical of their nation’s institutions are in Africa and eastern Europe, according to Transparency International’s 2013 Global Corruption Barometer. The report details citizens’ perceptions of bribery and corruption by surveying over 100,000 people in 107 countries.

Inhabitants of Russia and Sudan have the broadest skepticism of their institutions. On average, 70% of these citizens there say each of the 12 listed institutions–ranging from the health care industry to the political forums–is corrupt.

However respondents in most countries see the landscape of corruption in a more nuanced way; they have little suspicion of corruption by some institutions, while perceiving others to be rife with it.

Globally, political parties are more often seen as corrupt than any other institution. Sixty-five percent of all respondents to the survey indicated they think political parties are corrupt. In Nigeria, 94% felt this way. And in Mexico and Cyprus it was 91%.

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Businesses are perceived the most negatively in Liberia, Algeria, and Sudan. More than 70% of respondents in those countries thought the private sector was corrupt. In every country surveyed, at least 10% of citizens thought businesses were corrupt, the highest minimum of any of the institutions listed.

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In both Greece, which has been struggling with debt and other economic issues, and Egypt, which the world has now watched overthrow two heads of state in three years, individuals surveyed are highly skeptical of the media. Eighty-six percent of Greeks and 80% of Egyptians think the media in their country are corrupt.

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When it comes to law and order, there are four countries where at least 80% of citizens say that the legislature, judiciary, and police are corrupt: Liberia, Indonesia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Russia. The Danes, Rwandans, Finns, and Norwegians were the least suspicious of corruption in their justice systems.

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Of the 107 countries surveyed, in only 17 of them more respondents thought ordinary people couldn’t make a difference fighting corruption than they could make a difference. Many of the citizens who felt disempowered fighting corruption live in former Warsaw Pact and Soviet countries. Others are in war-torn regions, such as Tunisia and Iraq. In Russia, 56% of citizens believed they as individuals couldn’t fix corruption.

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