Thursday, November 22, 2012

Fighting bureaucratic corruption in Russia

Yahoo! News has a very interesting report about a Russian farmer who ran headlong into official corruption, and is trying to do something about it.

When Eduard Mochalov tried to have the people who stole his cattle and pig farm brought to justice, he spent eight months in jail on charges he says were cooked up. He appealed to Vladimir Putin and even set himself on fire outside the Kremlin in protest, but still couldn't draw attention to his cause as his farm slowly fell into disrepair.

Now, Mochalov has found a new life as a crusading journalist investigating corruption in his native region, fueled by tips from disgruntled businessmen and government workers. Undeterred by a system where the law is selectively used to protect the powerful and crack down on critics, Mochalov has quickly earned cult status — not to mention the ire of countless local officials — throughout the small province of Chuvashia.

Roughly once a month, he publishes a free newspaper called Vzyatka, or The Bribe, which rails against what it calls "Chuvash kingpins" who steal from the province's budget. Headlines include "The governor of Chuvashia's family business" and "If nobody's been found guilty, that means they're already in power." The paper has proved so popular that with a print run of 20,000 he has trouble meeting demand.

There's more at the link.  Very interesting reading, particularly (since Mr. Mochalov encountered corruption as a farmer) in the light of allegations of corruption within the US agricultural bureaucracy.  I wonder how long it may be before such action is also necessary here?


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