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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Watchdog: Corruption in Russia Grew Worse

Corruption Perceptions Index
New Zealand
15United States
39Saudi Arabia
SOURCE: Transparency International
Corruption has been critically high in Russia and only worsened this year, according to a report released Tuesday by the Berlin-based corruption watchdog group Transparency International.

Russia ranked 88th of the 133 countries included in the group's annual Corruption Perceptions Index, on par with Algeria and Pakistan.

Finland held on to last year's top spot as the least corrupt country and Bangladesh ranked the last.

In the past two surveys, Russia also found itself toward the bottom of the heap, ranking 79th out of 91 countries in 2001 and 82nd out of 99 in 2000.

Transparency International compiled the rating based on corruption surveys conducted by 13 independent organizations, including the World Bank, Columbia University and accounting consulting giant PricewaterhouseCoopers. The surveys reflected the opinions of businessmen and analysts.

Russia was one of the most extensively researched countries, having undergone 16 surveys, according to the watchdog group. The surveys were conducted independently of Transparency International, which based its ratings on the other groups' findings.

On a scale of one to 10, with 10 indicating the least corruption, Russia scored 2.6, marginally worse than last year's reading of 2.7.

"Sadly, nothing is changing for the better," lamented Yelena Panfilova, the head of the Center for Anti-Corruption Research and Initiatives, the Russian affiliate of Transparency International.

Finland received 9.7, unchanged from last year, while Bangladesh improved slightly to a score of 1.3 points.

Panfilova said Russia attracted this high number of professional studies because "for the major international organizations that conduct the surveys, Russia is either a partner or a market or a place to invest."

On top of that, thanks to its size, Russia was the focus of research that targeted both Europe and Asia, Panfilova said.

The index judged Russia to be less corrupt than most of its surveyed peers in the Commonwealth of Independent States. Only two -- Belarus and Armenia -- ranked higher, at 52nd and 80th, respectively, based on five surveys in each of the countries. Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan, meanwhile, came in a few notches below, sharing the 97th spot. Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Tajikistan fell even lower.