MOSCOW, December 5 (RIA Novosti) – Russia ranked 133rd of 174 countries in the latest Corruption Perceptions Index by the Transparency International watchdog, alongside Iran, Kazakhstan and Honduras.
The country’s recent anti-corruption campaign came too late to influence the 2012 rating, but will be reflected in next year’s study, Yelena Panfilova, head of Transparency International Russia, said at the survey’s presentation in Moscow on Wednesday.
Denmark, Finland and New Zealand tied for first place in the study, while Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia ended up at the bottom.
Russia also performed the worst of all G20 and BRICS countries, whose members all ranked in the top 100.
The report utilized a new method that would allow year-on-year comparisons, Panfilova added.
The watchdog, headquartered in Berlin, has been conducting the annual study since 1995, but has used a different set of data each year. This rules out the direct comparison of countries’ past performance in the ranks.
Last year, Russia ranked 144th of 183 countries in the poll, 23 places below its this year’s neighbors Iran and Kazakhstan.
Russia appeared to step up its anti-corruption efforts in November, when Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov was fired over a graft case against his subordinates, and another recently retired Cabinet member was accused of corruption by state-controlled federal television.
The campaign was variously seen as a cover for a new turf war in the Kremlin or the start of a long-awaited nationwide crackdown on high-profile graft. Panfilova said it was likely both.
Russia is also seeing a surge in grassroots anti-corruption activism, with the number of volunteers for related projects having grown in recent months, Panfilova said.
The public anti-graft drive is the key to improving Russia’s dismal place in the corruption rankings, but it remains unclear whether the government is planning to utilize grassroots activists to fight corruption, she added.
“It’s been my dream since 2000 that the public will to fight corruption meets the political will,” she said in response to a question by RIA Novosti. “But for this, the government would need to roll back everything it’s done over the past 12 years.”