Russia: Artist Sells Bribery Envelopes as Moscow Holds Anti-Corruption Forum

A Siberian artist sold out of his supply of "bribery envelopes" imprinted with the text of the Russian criminal code, as a government sponsored anti-corruption forum unfolds in Moscow this week.

100 russian rubles100 Rubles: The Cost of a Corruption CarrierVasily Slonov created and sold the first 100 of his potential graft carriers for 100 rubles (about US$1.95). Each one is emblazoned with the phrase:  "Friends, let's make life beautiful. Let's improve the culture of giving bribes," according to the Moscow Times.

Slonov claims the envelopes were purchased by everyday citizens and bureaucrats alike. He is printing more and says that they will eventually be sold by the Winzavod Contemporary Art Center in Moscow.

The artist is also known for creating in November of 2014 a likeness of President Vladimir Putin out of Russian and Soviet rubles and the United States dollar.

The Russian government’s Institute of Legislation and Comparative Law (IZISP) is holding their Eurasian Anti-Corruption Forum this week. On their website, the institute exclaims their intention to “search for new ideas and to develop effective anti-corruption mechanisms’’.

Russian news sources, including Russia Today, reported the unveiling of the Russian government’s own anti-corruption index at the forum, in response to the index calculated by Transparency International.

Russia ranked 136 out of 175 countries in the latest Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index. Artyom Tsirin, an IZISP researcher and co-creator of Russia’s International Program for Monitoring Corruption (MONKOR),  criticizes the Transparency index for being too reliant on "psychological attitudes of the people surveyed."

It remains to be seen whether Slonov’s artwork or IZISP’s research into the ‘most effective strategy to combat corruption’ will impact systemic corruption within the Russian Federation.