MOSCOW – Everyday corruption in Russia has in recent years evolved from money changing hands under the table to an elaborate system of intermediaries to lower the risk of being caught red-handed. But straight-forward bribes are still common. The Associated Press talked to a few dozen people who recounted their experience of giving bribes. They requested anonymity because speaking openly about the practice is considered confession of a crime, punishable up to 12 years in prison.
CEMETERY: One Moscow resident paid 90,000 rubles ($1,300) four years ago to obtain a plot at a city cemetery that should have been free of charge. The old cemetery where the person's relatives were buried was expanding and in order to make sure they had a new plot ready for an elderly relative, the family paid the cemetery's administration.
DRIVING TEST: Driving tests in Russia are a fertile ground for bribery since the complex rules regulating the tests provide countless opportunities to fail anyone. A Moscow resident failed multiple times at the final stage of the three-part driving test before a friend gave him the phone number of a former police officer who had arranged for others taking the test to pass. After the former officer took 15,000 rubles ($220) from the aspiring licensee, the new driver did nothing more than get in the car the next week for the inspector to pass him on the third and final hurdle.
SURGERY: Another Moscow resident said his family recently paid 15,000 rubles ($220) for a hernia surgery at a top state-owned hospital. After an intermediary put the family in touch with a doctor there, the family paid him directly upon the patient's discharge. A smaller sum was also paid to the nurses. The hospital in question provides free surgeries but the waiting list is long, so the bribe was effectively paid to jump the endless queue.
TRAFFIC POLICE: A Moscow motorist last month forked out 5,000 rubles ($74) after a traffic policeman flagged him down late in the evening, entering a highway using the exit ramp. As the policeman started to fill out the ticket on his laptop, the motorist asked if there was any way to "streamline the process." The policeman said the camera in his car was off so he would be happy to help the driver out. Had he been ticketed, the motorist would have risked paying the same amount in a fine or having his license revoked if the case went to court.