Latvia reaches milestone in corruption index

Latvia has reached a milestone in its annual ranking in the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) prepared by the anti-graft organization Transparency International, but has a long way to go if it wants to catch up with its neighbor to the north.

CPI data released Sept. 23 in Berlin show Latvia’s overall ranking has dropped, but its index score has improved. Out of 180 countries in the 2008 survey, Latvia ranks 52nd, slipping from its ranking of 51st last year.

But the 2008 index score of 5.0 means that Latvia for the first time is not viewed as having a serious problem with corruption. Last year, Latvia had a score of 4.8.

The index uses a combination of 13 research surveys to measure perception of public sector corruption. Nations are given a score from zero, meaning the country is viewed as highly corrupt, to 10, signifying highly clean. Countries that score below five are considered to have a serious corruption problem in the public sector.

Ten years ago, Latvia ranked 71st in the CPI with a score of 2.7, sharing its spot with Pakistan.

Latvia’s northern neighbor, Estonia, ranks 27th in the 2008 index with a score of 6.6, while Lithuania ranks 58th with a score of 4.6.

Topping the 2008 rankings are Denmark, Sweden and New Zealand, each with a score of 9.3. The United States is 18th with a score of 7.3, putting it on par with Japan and Belgium. Russia, with a score of 2.1, ranks 147th and is placed alongside Syria, Bangladesh and Kenya.

(Corrected 23 SEP 2008)

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

4 thoughts on “Latvia reaches milestone in corruption index

  1. It is confusing that the article reports the index for Latvia has improved, yet cites numbers of 5.0 in 2008 and 5.1 in 2007. Latvia’s reported score in 2007 was 4.8. It is interesting to note that Estonia also continues to improve, yet Lithuania is falling back.

  2. Don’t be fooled. Latvia has not improved at all. I was chased out of Latvia with murder threats after blowing the whistle on a Latvian company and the Latvian government absolutely refused to investigate. Latvian is not a rule-of-law state. It is an oligarchy with certain people above the law.

  3. The index may have been ‘adjusted’ as the government learns how to manipulate the numbers, but the corruption is still endemic. It has just become slightly more sophisticated and a bit more subtle. I’ve lived in Latvia for over 5 years now, and there has been little change. In many cases, the change has been for the worse. It has only become less violent. I’ve also lived in Vilnius, and there is no perceptible difference. Yes, I hide my name in these comments; retribution comes in many forms in Riga.

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