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Thread: How to handle corruption and bribery in the CIS countries?

  1. #1

    How to handle corruption and bribery in the CIS countries?

    Sorry to bring up another negative topic! Hopefully everyone here knows I generally like Russia!

    I am planning a trip to Russia and CIS countries. In many of the CIS countries there seems to be a lot of corruption. I am not very used to corruption and I am not sure how to handle it!

    I am opposed to corruption among state officials and I do not want to support it if I can avoid it. The state should pay people enough to live on! Also, I want to avoid being bullied into paying bribes just for being a foreigner.

    • As a tourist, in what types of situation am I likely to be pressed to give bribes?

    • How can I avoid such situations and what should I do if I have no choice? Do they ask for more once you've "given in"?

    • What kind of trouble can I get into if I refuse to pay a bribe?

    • Does it help to say that I would raise a complaint against them, or ask to speak to their boss?

  2. #2
    Завсегдатай it-ogo's Avatar
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    Jan 2009
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    Well, I think as just a tourist you will hardly be in a situation of being pressed for bribes. I think. (At least if you are not in Moscow: Moscow has very special reputation.) This will become problem if you start business. Or any other situation you deal extensively with bureaucracy.

    Even then you most probably will not be pressed to bribe. You will meet many complicated and frustrating rules. And find that there are ways to make life easier by bribing. You will pay a bit to some guy and he will neglect some rules for you. Just don't go to the court - this can be really horrible.
    "Россия для русских" - это неправильно. Остальные-то чем лучше?

  3. #3
    Завсегдатай sperk's Avatar
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    I had no "opportunity" to deal w/ corruption as a tourist.
    Кому - нары, кому - Канары.

  4. #4
    Some Brits were travelling from Moldova to Ukraine. The border guards in one of the countries (didn't understand which one) told them that they had to pay a 50 Euro "fee" (for nothing) or their passports would be cut to pieces! The tourists realised this was a case of corruption, but they paid up anyway because they didn't want their holiday ruined by having to replace their passports. Next time the corrupt officials will probably up the "fee" to 100 EUR...! That's the kind of thing I was referring to!

    I wouldn't know what to do in a situation like that. What should these tourists have done, do you think? Were they right to pay up, or what should they have done?

    I have never actually come across corrupt officials in my life.
    The only travelling danger I have experience of is gypsies, pickpockets and beggars; but they have no authority - it's just a matter of ignoring or avoiding them.

  5. #5
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    I think that common bribery situations in which tourists and residents of CIS countries may find themselves are very different. I guess tourists are more likely to be pressed for bribes by custom officers or by militia who insist on some imaginary passport regime violations. They act on the assumption that a tourist is not familiar with local laws and/or rich and/or scared of the bad CIS reputation and is an easy prey.

    For a local resident, as it-ogo mentioned, bribes are usually used to cut the red tape and to save time, to gain some advantage (for example to enter the university when your grades are not so great), to avoid punishment or to get a better service. Nobody is usually actively pressed for a bribe in these situations (though some hints may be dropped), and it's often the bribe giver who initiates the exchange. If you don't want to give a bribe in 99% of situations you won't suffer any consequences, except that no one will fall over themselves to help you: you'll have to pay a fine, you deserve, everything you need will be done according to rules or law, which means an average or slightly below average service, a long wait, etc.

  6. #6
    Старший оракул CoffeeCup's Avatar
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    As a tourist, if will not drive a car on your own (as we remember you probably will not ), you will hardly ever meet any situation dealing with corruption or bribery in Russia. Though I'm not familiar with situation in other former Soviet republics (Ukraine, Moldova etc.). Anyway if you will cross any border by plane, you will not meet any problems (unless you will carry drags or antiques or gold plates in your baggage).
    So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

  7. #7
    I think I understand the situation... It was just such a shocking thing to read about. Probably a one-off incident then.
    People generally treat me pretty well when I travel, so I hadn't been worried about this until I read about this incident on "Lonely Planet".

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