Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Flying Trip to Dnipropetrovsk

Yesterday at 9:00 am, Tanya appeared in my office dressed for teh city and said she needed to go to Dnipro get see if she could find her blood pressure meds. None of the drug stores in ZV had them in stock and they are always expecting them "tomorrow". She had run out two days ago.


By 11:30 we were in the city and learned from a druggist in a shopping mall that the meds were unavailable as they were in process of reregistration or registration review. So Tanya went to the University Pharmacy and they helped her find a suitable alternative.


While she was down town, she had coffee with her friend Natalie. Natalie's husband had bought some land and needed the transfer documents registered with the city. It was more complicated than that but the upshot was for $15000 in bribe money, they would be happy to do it for him.


Ukraine has an obsession with documents, mainly I suspect because very document is an opportunity to extract bribes, hence no support for reforming the system. "What, you wanted it THIS century? Well, we are very busy but perhaps ..."


This is not something that grew out of the Soviet system. I just finished a translations of Gogol's "Dead Souls", written in the early mid 19th century and was surprised to learn that many of the practices I find objectionable in Ukraine are as old as Russian culture. People are appointed or removed from office at the whim of the person above them. NO ONE, Tsar, Party, or today's "democratically" elected government are answerable to the people. There is no accountability so to whom are you going to complain?

2 comments:

  1. I think that's why people are surprised when they come to the U.S. Our bribery is hidden at higher levels. The average person doesn't need to pay bribes only developers and contractors.

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  2. I was surprised to learn that is true in Canada as well.
    Mulrooney may not have received $50 million to facilitate Air Canada's purchase of Airbus planes but it is how the French do business.

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