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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

Thursday, Jan. 29



Attend a master class on how to deal with complicated business negotiations today at the International Banking Institute, 6 Malaya Sadovaya Ulitsa. Running from 3 to 6 p.m., Vadim Sokolov, an assistant professor at the St. Petersburg State University of Economics, will introduce aspects of managing the negotiation process and increasing its effectiveness. Attendance is free with pre-registration by telephone on 909 3056 or online at www.ibispb.ru



Celebrate what would be writer Anton Chekhov's 155th birthday at the Bokvoed bookshop at 46 Nevsky Prospekt. Starting at 5 p.m., the legendary author will be feted with readings of his stories and short performances based on his plays by various St. Petersburg actors. Chekhov's books will also be offered at a 15% discount during the event.



Friday, Jan. 30



The Lermontov Central Library, 19 Liteyny Prospekt, will screen 'Almost Famous’ in English with Russian subtitles at 6:30 p.m. Cameron Crowe's Academy Award-winning comedy from 2000 stars Billy Crudup, Kate Hudson, and Patrick Fugit, and tells the story of a budding music journalist at Rolling Stone magazine in the 1970s. Admission is free.



Meet renowned Russian poet, journalist and writer Dmitry Bykov, famous for his biographies of Boris Pasternak, Bulat Okudzhava and Maxim Gorky, and winner of 2006 National Bestseller Award. Bykov will read old and new poems as well as answer questions about his works at the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Main Hall, at 7 p.m. Tickets start at 1,000 rubles and are available at city ticket offices and the from the Philharmonic website www.philharmonia.spb.ru.



A retrospective of the films of Roman Polanski starts today at Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt, with a screening of ‘Repulsion’ at 7 p.m. and ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ at 9:15 p.m. The series runs through Feb. 4 and will include Polanski's eminently creepy ‘The Tenant,’ the cult comedy ‘The Fearless Vampire Killers’ and ‘Cul-de-sac’ among others. Tickets are 150-200 rubles and the complete schedule is available at www.vk.com/artpokaz/



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