: AP: In Russia, bribes drive up the cost of living

15:21 Apr. 1, 2016

AP: In Russia, bribes drive up the cost of living

Commercial skyscrapers which form the Moscow International Business Center, also known as 'Moscow City,' stand on the Moskva river in Moscow, Russia, on Sunday, March 16, 2014. (Getty Images)

Housing prices in Russia are overexpensive because of bribery

The Moscow construction company executive ticks off bribes typically paid by construction companies here for a long list of permits and inspections needed to build a residential apartment building — or anything else in Russia.

Read also Moscow Times: Ukraine seeks to prove Russian USD 3 billion debt was bribe

As a result, he estimates that every apartment ends up being 10 to 15 percent more expensive than it should be, with the additional — but largely hidden — cost ultimately passed on to the consumer.

Read also New York Times: Ukraine's unyielding corruption

Russia has long been seen as extremely corrupt, an assessment backed up by international corruption ratings, with bribery engrained in society. Even before the collapse of communism, a bottle of vodka could smooth the way for a visa or official document and favors to those wielding influence could lead to a good apartment or job. But ask average Russians today how often they give bribes, and the answer is "never" or "not often."

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