Russia is seen as slightly less corrupt now than last year, but is still atthe bottom of the ranking conducted by the Berlin-based TransparencyInternational corruption watchdog.Russia tied with Tanzania, India, Zimbabwe, Cote d'Ivoire and Honduras for71st place out of 102 countries included in the annual CorruptionPerceptions Index. Finland took the first place in the ranking as the leastcorrupt country, and Bangladesh was the last. Russia was 79th out of 91countries last year, having been ranked 82nd out of 99 in 2000 and 82nd outof 90 in 1999.The ranking was conducted by nine corporate and non-corporate organizations- including the World Bank, Columbia University, the Economist IntelligenceUnit and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Russia was judged as less corrupt thanmost other members of the Commonwealth of Independent States also surveyed.But Belarus and Uzbekistan scored higher, the St. Petersburg Timesreported..
Military expert Vladimir Orlov expressed the opinion that the Pentagon is preparing to strike at least four Russian regions.