Moscow tests corruption among city employees with polygraphs

AP News
Posted: Feb 01, 2016 1:21 PM

MOSCOW (AP) — Some 94 percent of Moscow city employees ordered to undergo lie-detector tests as part of the fight against corruption passed them, the city government said Monday as it announced that the tests would be used again this year. It did not disclose what happened to the other 6 percent of employees.

Nataliya Sergunina, a deputy mayor in charge of economics, said in a statement Monday that 1,600 officials will face polygraph tests this year, and some people will also undergo a voice analysis test.

Polygraph tests measure heart rate, blood pressure, respiration and skin conductivity to determine if a person is telling the truth. Test results are fraught with error, according to the American Psychological Society.

Russia ranks as the 119th most corrupt country out of 168 covered in a report by the anti-graft watchdog Transparency International.

Last year 1,775 city employees underwent the polygraph test, according to the city statement.

Amid Russia's economic downturn, the government has sought to demonstrate a renewed vigor in fighting official corruption. Last week, President Vladimir Putin chaired a Kremlin meeting that reviewed anti-corruption efforts, urging his Cabinet to step up the fight.

The government calls for combatting graft come amid corruption accusations made in the West against Putin and his entourage. The Kremlin has dismissed them as lies.

The United People's Front, an umbrella group of various organizations and groups of Putin's supporters, posted a series of cartoons casting Putin as an anti-corruption crusader. In them, an impassive Putin watches the elimination of one corrupt official after another. One bureaucrat falls through the floor in the Kremlin, others are cut by a circular saw, smashed by a block of concrete or blasted by a gun. The cartoons feature names of officials who have lost their jobs over corruption accusations.