Russians are crowdfunding a battle against corruption

July 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

From our Russian correspondent @dubcountry:
As crowdfunding continues to occupy niches across industries and sectors, the concept may just go a long way. A very peculiar initiative I recently discovered comes from a  Russian lawyer and an increasingly popular political activist, Alexey Navalny. Mr Navalny is known for his anti-corruption efforts and a struggle against fraudulent government-affiliated Russian businesses.
Navalny’s  recent project RosPil aims to uncover corruption of government tenders. All government tenders are published online where anyone, be it citizens or businesses, can search through databases. The idea is great, as it assumes transparency and easy monitoring, however, according to Mr. Navalny huge numbers of tenders are still rigged. To combat fraud in governmental tenders,  Navalny asked general public to fund the RosPil project. For the money received Navalny hires top-notch legal professionals, which systematically assess government tenders, find flaws, illegalities as well as pure scams and then initiate legal proceedings. Moreover, to make sure the requests are heard and are heard on time, Navalny encourages the public to also file complaints to the prosecutors’ departments, president’s administration etc. All the documents that are filed including all subsequent correspondence with officials is published online on the RosPil website.
Initially Navalny aimed to crowdfund RUB 3 mil – RUB 5 mil (ca. EUR 75k – 125k), to be collected within the period of one year. But few weeks into the project, he has already gathered around RUB 7 mil (ca. EUR 175k) and contributions continue to flow. As stated on the official website, RosPil team has filed 39 complaints against tenders, 21 of which have been found as well-grounded by the authorities with the total worth of prevented corruption RUB 7 mil. On the scale of government spending the sum is not sky high but it’s a start.
Not wanting to dig deep into political activism (music is a merrier lot), I am still very happy to see that incarnations of cowdfunding help find solutions to problems of various caliber. In the case of RosPil, it’s strive for transparency and successful supporters’ activism are a promising start in Russia’s crowdfunded anti-corruption battle!
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