Latvia still viewed as corrupt, but less so

Latvia still is viewed as the most corrupt Baltic state, is seen as the second-most corrupt in the expanded European Union, but nonetheless has improved since last year, according to the latest Corruption Perception Index by the Berlin-based Transparency International.

Latvia ranked 51st on the list released Oct. 18, an improvement from last year’s ranking of 57th. The nation shared the spot with the Central American countries of Costa Rica and El Salvador and with the Indian Ocean country of Mauritius.

The Corruption Perception Index is based on polls of business people, academics and country analysts. A total of 159 countries are included in the index, which measures opinion about the level of corruption and is based on a 10-point scale.

Latvia’s score continues to improve, climbing from 3.8 in 2003, to 4.0 last year, to 4.2 this year.

But Transparency International, as well as its Rīga-based affiliate Delna, warned that scores below 5 indicate “serious levels of corruption.”

Among the three Baltic republics, Estonia climbed four spots to a ranking of 27th with a score of 6.7, while Lithuania maintained a ranking of 44th with a score of 4.8. Transparency International singled out Estonia as among those countries where wealth is not a prerequisite for controlling corruption.

Among European Union members, only Poland scored lower than Latvia. Poland ranked 70th with a score of 3.4.

Iceland this year edged out Finland for the top spot on the index, scoring 9.7. Finland and New Zealand shared the No. 2 slot, scoring 9.6. The United States maintained its 17th place ranking, but Russia sank to 126th, sharing the spot with Albania, Niger and Sierra Leone. Last year Russia ranked 90th.

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

5 thoughts on “Latvia still viewed as corrupt, but less so

  1. Wonder what the index would have shown if on Latvians were counted and did not include the Russians living in Latvia?

    Not saying that Latvians are angels – but I am sure our reputation would be a little better when you factor out the Russians.

  2. Persistent, Soviet style bureaucracy has bribing built-in with reasons and opportunities for application of the green to the palm.
    Example: annual automobile testing, suggesting Ls 2000.- repairs for re-licensing. A Ls 200.- bribe accomplishes the same.

    Speaking Russian at any government office gets you further and faster.

  3. No matter where one turns in Latvia, there is corruptivenesss. Most of it it is at the top, where the smooth talkers are. Look at them fight for the “cushy” chairs. Now with EU money they have found another “cash cow”.

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