Latvian residents doubt possibility of getting wealth through honest means

  • 2000-04-20
RIGA (LETA) - A survey shows that 75.9 percent of Latvians questioned believe that it is impossible to become wealthy through fair means, according to data compiled in "The Face of Corruption in Latvia'' by the public organization Delna - the Latvian branch of Transparency International.

Only 18.2 percent of respondents saw the possibility of becoming wealthy by fair means.

In regard to the question on why corruption still exists in Latvia, 72.9 percent replied that only by combating higher level corruption will the lower levels disappear.

In the survey, 78.2 percent admitted that the present bureaucratic system forces one to give bribes, 72.1 percent admitted corruption as an unfair but often inevitable means, but 62.5 percent believe that bribes are necessary in order to reach a goal because of widespread corruption in the state system.

Delna said 2,001 people participated in the poll and replied to various questions related to corruption in Latvia.

Since corruption is "rather disreputable," people avoid direct and open statements regarding the matter. Therefore, questions were asked indirectly - whether respondents had ever faced problems at governmental and municipal institutions, and whether they have had to resort to bribery in order to tackle problems.

The most corrupt institutions in the opinion of residents were listed by the survey, as well as where bribes are necessary in order to reach a positive outcome, and the necessary measures (in the view of respondents) to be taken in order to improve the situation.

The five perceived as corrupt by the most respondents out of 36 entities listed are: customs, 73.3 percent; traffic police, 71.4 percent; Lattelekom, 69.4 percent; Latvian Privatization Agency, 58.4 percent and the state Real Estate Agency, 55.4 percent.