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Corruption, power, and small business: problems and problem solving

In June 24 the conference on the subject “Corruption, power, and small business: problems and problem solving” was held in Krasnodar. It was organized by the National Association of Entrepreneurs for Honest Business (the President of the Association is Nonna Barkhatova; the Chairman of the Board is Andrey Davidovich, the General Director of Market Research & Management Consulting Agency “Market”). Svetlana Kurenina, the Head of the PR Department of Agency " Market” made a presentation on the part of mass media in anti-corruption.

The conferees, small entrepreneurs from Krasnodar, Saratov, Kolomna, Belgorod, Novosibirsk, Moscow, Tomsk, had to discuss the following questions: how to build own business in the modern economic environment, which forms of cooperation with authorities are the most appropriate and successful.

The Board of Directors of the Association for Honest Business was represented by Nona Barchatova, the President, and by Evgeny Zhukov, a Board member. The conference was open with the welcoming speech of the Board Chairman - Andrey Davidovich (who was absent by objective reasons) - read by his representative. “The conference in Krasnodar is one more confirmation of the fact that the Russian people are not indifferent to how we will live in future, how our children will live – that sounded in the speech of A. Davidovich. – Only through joining up the efforts of ordinary people, social organizations, healthy part of the State machinery we can overcome corruption that has permeated in all the fields of activity in the Russian Federation. Corruption in Russia has centuries-old history. We are able to close the last page in the history of corruption and to start a new era – the era of justice, the era of life without corruption and administrative barriers”.

The conference was started with the report of Nona Barkhatova, the President of the Association for Honest Business, titled “Corruption as an instrument of raiders’ activity in business”. The report was devoted to the problem that is of the greatest concern of Russian entrepreneurs today – it is the safety of their business, namely, the increasing pressure of regional authorities and large businesses upon them, repartition of property.

The report contained specific recommendations concerning shark takeover prevention. The basic ones are: to know laws and to be watchful. As well as to be able to change the officials engaged by the enemy resting upon a range of rules: to find legal causes for neutralization of an administrative resource; actively report a problem to all possible authorities/channels (corruption does not like silence, so, cry as noisily as possible!); to take care of financial flows; to undertake counteroffensive actions.

Great interest was stimulated by the presentation of Andrey Koftun, a representative of the Krasnodar Territory Administration, about the first in the Russian Federation system of investment project follow-up based on the “one-window” principle. According to the report, this Service considers the questions connected with revelation and elimination of administrative barriers hampering entrepreneurship development. As per Andrey Koftun, weekly analysis of citizens’ appeals is held, on the basis of its results, specific measures are taken to avoid procrastination and bureaucratism while solving the questions on regulation of entrepreneur activity.

The entrepreneurs present at the conference got an opportunity to tackle their own problems directly asking the representative of the Territory Administration for support.

As for the reports of the entrepreneurs (Dmitry Kondratyev: «Corruption: «good» or «disaster», Anna Makarova «Corruption in judicial system of the Krasnodar Territory»), there were mentioned the facts hampering small and medium business development. They suggested to study laws and to administrate business more thoroughly.

Mass media plays a great part in anti-corruption and in building of a positive image of the Russian entrepreneur. The accusatory and educational functions of mass media were mentioned in the presentation of Svetlana Kurenina (Market Research & Management Consulting Agency “Market” Ltd., Kolomna). Getting of mass media to solve one’s problems (articles devoted to the achievements of small and medium business, anti-corruption materials, information aiming at protection of national culture) is within the powers of both public institutions and of separate companies in different regions of Russia. «Our task is to make mass media conductor of our ideas», - was specified in the report.

At the end of the conference Ms. Sharon Tennison – the President of the Center for Citizen Initiatives (the USA, San-Francisco) – pointed in her speech to the readiness of Russian Entrepreneurs to build the society without corruption and administrative barriers to as a positive fact; she made a proposal to implement a TV project by the end of 2006 – reality-show demonstrating the examples of corruption activity. Ms Tennison also noted the importance and great power of entrepreneur associations, such as the Association for Honest Business, in solution of joint tasks and wished the Association further success in achievement of planned goals.
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