MOSCOW, January 27 - RAPSI. The average bribe amount in Russia grew by 250 percent to over 230,000 rubles ($7,770) in 2011, the Interior Ministry's Economic Security Department reported on Friday.

"Based on investigated crimes, the average bribe and other corrupt payment amount has grown over 3.5 times. Now it is equal to 236,000 rubles ($7,770)," the department said.

Achievements in combating corruption include a more than 50-percent increase in damage compensation in criminal cases concerning public procurement, medical services, housing and utilities, construction and education.

"This means about 4.5 billion rubles ($148 million) have been returned to the state budget, legal entities and individuals," the department noted.

According to Transparency International, the level of corruption in Russia has dropped in the past year, but remains high. The Corruption Perception Index in 2011 placed Russia 143rd with 2.4 points among 182 countries. Azerbaijan, Belarus, Comoro Islands, Mauritania, East Timor and Togo had the same result. In 2010, Russia was 154th with 2.1 points.