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Finns Advised on Bribery in Russia

Published: January 25, 2005 (Issue # 1038)


HELSINKI - Finnish authorities criticized a leading trade body on Friday for publishing a book giving advice on bribery for Finns doing business in Russia.

The book, titled "Russian Customs for Finns," gives examples of what kind of bribes can be given and how, seeking to aid businesses from a country known for its transparency. "If you have to give a bribe, it has to be done discreetly, definitely without external witnesses, or rather by using a Russian frontman," the book, published by the Finnish-Russian Chamber of Commerce, quoted a Finnish businessman as saying.

The Chamber used a Finnish government grant to finance the publication the instruction book deeming it a necessary tabletop accessory for Finnish businessmen. Finland has been acknowledged as the world's least corrupt country in terms of business transactions by the Transparency Internatioanl organization.

Although the book was actually published two years ago, it provoked a scandal last Friday, when the authoritative Finnish daily Helsingin Sanoman cited a chapter from a book, in which Finnish businessmen discussed their experiences in bribing Russian officials.

"Of course you have to talk about the operating environment, but not like that," said Henrik Raiha, a senior official at the Trade and Industry Ministry, which provides some 20 percent of the organization's annual financing. "Now the reader gets the picture that you can't cope in Russia without bribing," he said.

A Chamber of Commerce spokesman defended the book, saying it "is a description about how real life is in Russia."

(Reuters, Mosnews, SPT)





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in “Downton Abbey” if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russia’s best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russia’s most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkin’s, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontov’s short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library System’s website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Club’s weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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