Visit Prague and get a degree in Master of Corruption Administration
In Prague, heart of Czech Republic, is a unique tour for visitors who would like to get a scoop on the country’s dark and most scandalous side: corruption.
Transparency International ranked Czech Republic 57th out of 177 in its 2013 Corruption Perceptions Index. But with the stories and landmarks visited in Corrupt Tour, visitors may realise there’s more to the country’s sly government dealings than what is generally perceived.
Corrupt Tour founder Petr Sourek said that he started the unique tour to bring attention to the problem. He said his group ‘recycles corruption’ by profiting from corruption. For a few dozen Euros, his group can take visitors on a tour around the city that highlights instances of cronyism and corruption.
Sourek said ‘I perceive [corruption] as a threat to our freedoms, because if these mafia-like structures are strong enough, they are able to intimidate citizens.’ Some of its stops include wealthy villas owned by public officials and businessmen, government buildings and overpriced infrastructure.
A point to look out for in the tour is jailed billionaire businessman Roman Janousek’s office. Janousek is known for being the city’s ‘shadow mayor’ and is often called ‘Voldemort’ for his shady dealings with the local government.
At the end of the tour, visitors are given a fake Masters in Corruption Administration degree, a parody of politicians who allegedly buy law degrees and other academic titles to boost their qualifications.
Despite the cold facts behind the tour, some officials said they are willing to give the government a chance. Deputy Interior Minister Adriana Krnacova emphasised that CzechRepublic has only existed for 20 years after Czechoslovakia was dissolved in 1993: ‘We’re a very young country and it would be very naive to think that after 20 years everything would change.’
Deputy Finance Minister and blind lawyer Ondrej Zavodsky agreed, saying ‘Things have moved forward of course. That’s visible even just looking at my own case.’ Zavodsky was fired in 2010 from the Interior Ministry’s legal office after he raised alarm over suspicious contracts.
Now reinstated in two public posts, Zavodsky proudly shared that ‘The minister has given me a completely free rein to ensure transparency of the various flows of money,’ a sign that CzechRepublic is beginning to change.