Sunday, December 14, 2008

Speaking of corruption, here's an explanation of how to bribe Ukrainian traffic cops, which appeared (UKR) in Ukrayinskyi Tyzhden last week:

Illustration by Andriy Yermolenko

Here's a quick translation:

Bribery Etiquette

- Don't put money inside documents - this can be perceived as provocation.

- If you are going to give a bribe, take the needed amount of money*** out of your wallet in advance and hold the wrapped bills in your hand.

- If we are talking about a significant amount of money, it should not be passed from hands to hands - put the money inside the policeman's car in between the front seats.

- Don't beg for the policeman to take the money - he knows better when it's okay to take and when it is not.

Remember: Traffic police do not give change!

***At least 50 percent of the amount of the official fine.

It hurt to translate this into English. It also hurt to read this in a decent-looking Ukrainian-language weekly magazine. Actually, it made our jaws drop when we saw it. I wonder how many people have found this information useful - or amusing.


  1. Too bad the magazine didn't have a photo spread showing how to bribe city officials to turn on the hot water...
    But hey, at least it's back on now!

  2. Why the shock?

    It is no secret that corruption permeates Ukraine, from bottom to top.

    One of my friends, who was born in Ukraine, was visiting Ukraine. He asked directions from a traffic cop - and was promptly told that it was "illegal" to ask for directions. Needless to say, what was occurring was solicitation of a bribe.

    Another friend, who is Ukrainian, was driving recently. He was pulled over - and the "etiquette" was to wrap a few dollar bills in some hryvnia, and the traffic cop went on his way.

    College students cheat on tests, as a matter of course.

    Akhmetov and Khmelnystsky and Chernovetsky, the mayor of Kyiv, and City Council members own KyivEnergoHolding and related companies, which just shut off hot water to Kyiv residents.

    Susanna Stanik, a constitutional court judge, was "blessed" because her mother mysteriously and suddenly received several million dollars' worth of property while the "good" judge was deliberating the lawfulness of the president's decree disbanding parliament.

    Yushchenko wants RosUkrEnergo and Firtash to remain in place as a shady intermediary between Ukraine and Russia's Gazprom.

    Corrupt lawmakers try to squelch investigations into smuggling and other criminal activities by the SBU.

    Is the idea that shit doesn't stink if noone talks about it?

    Yushchenko said, and correctly so, that "corruption is ruining the country."

    So it seems only civilized to have some rules of etiquette about corruption, if Ukrainian aren't going t make it go away.

  3. Why the shock? Definitely not because we discovered something new in this piece. Maybe because some of us Ukrainians aren't totally beyond hope... :) Seriously, though, here's an analogy: what if they ran a story on prostitution and included a totally serious practical guide for girls on how to become prostitutes? I mean, it's a totally legitimate albeit an illegal (so far) occupation for so many women in Ukraine, so why not, right? Wrong.

  4. Well, Neeka, maybe now we're starting to get somewhere.

    I think the idea behind the "etiquette" article is, obviously, to get rid of corruption via a sort of open sarcasm.

    So rather than telling people how to become prostitutes - what's a better way to get rid of prostitution - or corruption?

    In some countries, they started posting pictures of the "johns" that get caught using prostitutes.

    In some neighborhoods, people use personal video cameras to film the prostitution activities, and then give them to - honest - police.

    So what's a better way to get rid of corruption?

    Especially when it's "killing the country" - and causing hot water to be shut off?

  5. Elmer wrote:

    "I think the idea behind the 'etiquette' article is, obviously, to get rid of corruption via a sort of open sarcasm.

    Maybe I'm wrong, or maybe I'm a pessimist, but I don't think this is "the idea" of the segment I've posted here...

  6. Neeka, if the only point of the segment is to wonder how many people found the bribery etiquette article useful or amusing, well, with all due respect, that's not much of a point, IMHO.

    The article was obviously published for a reason.

    It's your blog, of course, and you can call the shots how you want to - obviously.

    But may I suggest, again, with the utmost respect, that the publication of the article brings up some serious questions in Ukraine, which you yourself have noted, that ought to be addressed.

    And, as excellent a writer as you are, your blog can perhaps make a huge positive contribution to questions that need to be addressed - and problems that need to be solved.

  7. My point is that the "bribery etiquette" segment should not have been part of the story that addresses corruption. Unlike you, I do not see any sarcasm in the way they've presented it. I find the segment quite informative: I had no idea how to bribe a traffic cop before - but now I do know. Not that it's of any use to me personally - I don't even have a car - but I'm sure there are people who might appreciate these recommendations.

  8. Superb stuff! :-)

  9. "I had no idea how to bribe a traffic cop before - but now I do know. Not that it's of any use to me personally - I don't even have a car..."

    Give it some time, and some clever ДАI officer will figure out how to give traffic tickets to pedestrians...

  10. Another great reason to keep using public transportation .. .