Tag Archives: Russia

Ernst & Young: Russia Tied with USA at 31st Place in Corruption, Ukraine in 2nd

(translated from German)

Ernst & Young have published their annual study on corruption. Russia has improved its figures drastically: to the end of the year the number of respondents seeing bribery to be a common phenomenon in business has sunken for nearly one third. Year prior, 48% considered corruption in the business-sector to be widespread. Nowadays, only 34%, according to the study, thought likewise. This number is with 5% lower than the world-rate and equal to the current level of corruption in the USA and Poland. The average rate is 39% worldwide, 2014 and 2012 it has been 38%.

According to the recent study only eight percent of the enterprises admitted using bribes in their branches in order to close a trade. This number has shrunk up to triple in Russia in comparison with the prior year and is even less than the world-rate (11 %). The problem is especially spread in the Ukraine (36 %), Kenia (32 %) and Columbia (30 %).

Ernst & Young claims anti-corruption activities of local authorities to cause such results. News agency RBK cites Dimitry Zhigulin, partner of Ernst & Young: “Russian authorities are further developing and fulfilling their anticorruption laws, i.a. the list of officials, that should make their incomes public, as well as report potential conflicts of interests, has been expanded”.

Employees of retailers, industrial enterprises, oil companies and electricity companies took part at the poll. The study was carried out in Russia from October 2015 till January 2016. Employees from legal and finance departments of 50 large-scale enterprises with the annual income of about one billion US Dollar have been questioned.

Almost 3000 respondents from 62 countries were interviewed. According to the study, the highest rates of corruption in business are 90% in Brasil, 88% in the Ukraine and 86% in Thailand. Lowest corruption rates are in Finland (0 %) and Sweden (4%).

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Russian Official: Time for Russia to Fight Back in the Info War

For ten years Russia has been living in the context of a “hybrid war”, plotted by the US and its allies, says the head of the Russian Investigative Committee, Alexander Bastrykin. He emphasized that this war is being waged on the levels of politics, economics and media, as well as on the level of law. Recent years have shown, that this approach has reached a qualitatively new phase of open confrontation. Therefore, Russia needs a “tough and symmetrical response” on it.

Furthermore, Bastrykin also accuses the West of putting Russia under pressure through so called “currency wars”. He believes the US crushed the national currencies of emerging markets by manipulating the dollar. To protect oneself from such impacts one should tighten the controls over the cross-border movements of the capital.

Alexader Bastrykin also points out the rise of expenses in the US program for development of democracy in Russia’s neighbouring states. He is certain, that “informational and ideological weapons” are going to be used to incite anti-Russian moods, are being employed to similar effect.

The Chief of the Russian Investigative Committee stated that before the parliamentary elections on September 18th Russia should create effective countermeasures against the media war:

„It is high time to oppose this informational war. We need a tough, adequate and symmetrical answer. This is going to be extremely relevent in the context of the forthcoming elections and in the background of possible activities that will be aimed at destablizing the political balance of power”.

Aside from media campaigns, in the opinion of Bastrykin, now even international law is being used as an instrument of “hybrid war” against Russia more and more frequently. As an example he cites the Dutch investigation of the MH17-crash in Donbass, the judgements of the “YUKOS”-case (Russian oil and gas company), the former FSB-employee (Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation) Alexander Litvinenko, as well as the judgements against Russian citizens Victor Bout and Constantine Yaroshenko, imprisoned in the US:

“Unfortunately, international law and justice more and more often is becoming a weapon in this war. Illustrative examples are the resolutions in the “YUKOS”-case, the case of the murdered former FSB-employee Alexander Litvinenko, the report of the Dutch Security Council on the causes of the Malaysian Boeing MH17-crash, the FBI-verifications of Russian and Qatar claims to conduct the football world cup 2018 and 2022 in their countries, and also the abduction and transportation to the USA of our citizens Victor Bout and Constantine Yaroshenko who have been condemned to long prison terms”.

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German Farmers Demand End to Sanctions Against Russia

Originally Appeared at RT Deutsch. Translated from the German by Werner Schrimpf

Mr. Joachim Rukwied, President of the German Farmers Association (DBV), is urging an immediate repeal of EU sanctions against the Russian Federation. The German Farmers Association represents the associated membership of more than 90 percent of approximately 380,000 German farmers and is therefore regarded as a quite influential organization within Germany. During a press conference held in Berlin, DBV President Rukwied warned of dramatically eroding profits, declining prices for agricultural products, and the loss of important markets for German goods. The agricultural branch of animal husbandry is especially hurt by EU sanctions.

During the last fiscal year running from July 1st to June 30, 2015, average profits of German farmers declined by one third, according to Mr Rukwied.

The main reason for the decline are the sinking agricultural producer prices; i.e., prices for meat or grain per kilogram, or price of milk per liter. The producer price per liter of milk at just 25 to 27 euro cent forces dairy farmers into subsistence farming, because they are unable to generate any profits at this price level. The only exceptions to this trend are winegrowers who have benefitted from a mild climate. The organic farmers have profited from subsidies and the rising consumer trend towards eco-certified agricultural products.

According to data from the Farmers Association, the average gross income per farmer family amounts to approximately 2,500 euros per month. After deducting dues, taxes, social security contributions, and necessary capital expenditures, the financial leeway of native farmers is shrinking steadily. Dairy farmers suffered a tremendous decline of profits of 44 percent, Mr Rukwied explained. It is highly unlikely that this trend will be reversed soon.  

In the course of the last fiscal year, 5.6 percent of all pig farmers abandoned their farms, according to Mr. Rukwied. In his home region in Southwest Germany, one-third of the farmers have been forced to abandon their farms. In total, the number of active and operating farms went down by 1.7 per cent compared to the previous fiscal year; and in Eastern Germany, there was a decline of 0.2 per cent.

German farmers are heavily hit by the loss of their markets in Eastern Europe, and especially the loss caused by Russia’s ban of EU agricultural products. The ban on imports was Russia’s counter measure to U.S. and EU economic and financial sanctions which were imposed under the framework of the Ukraine crisis. Mr. Rukwied is pushing hard for reestablishing normal and constructive trade relationships with Russia. “Therefore, political initiatives to repeal sanctions against Russia are now called for,” stated Mr. Rukwied.

Besides his criticism of the politics and politicians, Rukwied also criticized the food industry and food traders as well. The food processing industry and discounter chains are the only profiteers of falling prices for agricultural products and enjoy an ever-increasing offer for these products from the global markets.

Farmers are hit by the declining prices under the current system and consumers do not get any benefit from the falling prices. The improved margins are absorbed by discounter chains and the food processing industry. Cartel authorities and cartel legislation have to be urgently improved in this matter, according to Mr Rukwied.

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According to data from the German Farmers Association the sanctions are hitting German agriculture hard 

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