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MOSCOW — The average bribe paid to officials in Russia has more than doubled to the equivalent of $3,500, a pro-government newspaper reported Friday.
Citing government figures, the average cost of greasing the wheels of the state went from 208,000 rubles to 109,000 rubles since this time last year, according to the Izvestia newspaper.
However, because failing oil prices and Western sanctions have halved the value of the ruble against the dollar, the average bribe in the equivalent dollar amount has not changed since 2014.
The newspaper said that the bribe-takers generally prefer dollars and euros over their home currency.
Izvestia said the data was provided by the Russian Interior Ministry's in-house data center. The department was not immediately available when contacted by NBC News.
The average bribe was calculated by looking at graft-related criminal cases but authorities admit those were just a drop in the ocean.
The sum total of graft and kickbacks in Russia was put at $300 billion in 2013, by the National Anti-Corruption Committee independent watchdog.
Transparency International, a Berlin-based watchdog, compiles a yearly index of how corrupt countries' public sectors are perceived to be. Last year, Russia was ranked 136th out of 175.
However, no top official has been prosecuted for corruption in Russia during the 15-year rule of President Vladimir Putin.