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Toni Schönfelder
A lifetime of innovation

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Toni Schönfelder
A lifetime of innovation

RUSSIA: ELECTRONIC ANTI-CORRUPTION PROPOSED USING THE INTERNET Business leaders aiming to stamp out corruption will drag Russia into the information age, adopting e-commerce and all the trappings, the head of Russia´s largest computer and technology services firm said Friday. Businesses will use the Internet to become more transparent, reaping a reward from investors for their openness, the head of Information Business Systems, IBS, said in an interview. IBS group, the $250 million leader of Russia´s roughly $1.4 billion information technology market, aims to lead Internet newbies by the hand and plans its own public offering next year, head Anatoly Karachinsky said. The reasons for Russia to boot up start with corruption. ``There is a model of stealing money from companies and taking it offshore, which is a much easier way to make money than to earn it honestly,´´ Karachinsky said. But bribes are small change. ``People are discovering that is more profitable to have a high capitalization than to steal a bit of money today,´´ he added. ``The prize in the West for those who work honestly is larger capitalization.´´ Thus Russia´s infamous gray sector of unrecorded deals, bribes and tax avoidance, a major part of the economy, is becoming a problem for some who built it, as well as the government and more honest competitors. Computerization and the Internet leave deal trails, uncovering bribes and foul play, Karachinsky says. ``It is effectively a way to get out from under the control of independent company bureaucrats.´´ ``It is crucial for Russia´s existence,´´ he adds. However, Russians don´t get the net -- literally. There are only a million or two users in the nation of 150 million, with consumers, relatively impoverished and inexperienced, bound to lag business in the move online, Karachinsky said. Businesses will fight for the few legendary Russian computer experts, he says, eyeing a public offering to attract people more than fixed assets. That approach addresses what many analysts say is Russia´s main deficiency: the lack of experienced managers, who understand how a business works. Yahoo News (Reuters), Sept. 22, 2000

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