The Defense Ministry’s Corruption Poll

Vladimir Mukhin talked about military corruption with Defense Ministry sociologist and pollster Captain First Rank Leonid Peven for today’s Nezavisimaya gazeta.

President Medvedev apparently ordered a study of corruption in the armed forces, and the Defense Ministry conducted a six-month poll, the results of which are reportedly uninspiring to say the least.  Peven wouldn’t talk about the specific results of the polling, saying work on the findings is ongoing.  But he indicated that each district, fleet, and branch of service would be assigned a ‘corruption index.’  Let’s hope–in the interests of fairness–that each armed service, each main directorate, each directorate, etc., gets an index as well.

Not surprisingly, an unnamed official source admits that the poll’s results confirm what the Defense Ministry already knows–as the GVP constantly says, there’s a general tendency toward higher levels of corruption-related crime and law-breaking in the officer corps.

The source also said the Kremlin is especially worried by armed forces corruption, and this poll was one of the largest and most unusual pieces of social research undertaken by the Defense Ministry in recent times.  The Defense Ministry’s sociologists and pollsters have typically been used to monitor military living standards.  A former uniformed sociologist said, however, that his colleagues could not get objective data on corruption in the armed forces by themselves.  Civilian experts at places like VTsIOM and Levada-Center need to be involved.

The formation of a new officer’s corporate ethos at this year’s 3rd All-Army Officers Assembly is supposed to be an answer to the scourge of military corruption, but the Chairman of the All-Russian Professional Union of Servicemen Oleg Shvedkov advises more practical measures like increasing the material well-being of officers as well as severe, but just, personnel policies.

One veteran adds that the leadership can create codes and rules of conduct, but they froze military base pay and pension increases for 2010, while other social groups haven’t similarly been done out of their supplements.  And you can’t beat corruption in the army with that kind of attitude toward men in shoulderboards.

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