RussianGraft - While we normally think of corruption as...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–2. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
R ussia is traditionally classified as one of the most corrupt countries in the world, and cer- tainly the most corrupt among economically developed countries. The question thus arises: What is there in present-day Russia’s history, cul- ture, and endowment that has made it so corrupt? Addressing this question may help us to assess the prospects of undoing or offsetting the forces of cor- ruption that continue to impede Russia’s political and economic development. For countries seeking to eliminate official bribery, influence peddling, and other corrupt activities, the longer and more deeply ingrained the corruption in the culture, the more difficult it is to eradicate. For corruption fighters in Africa and Latin America, this observation is noth- ing new. It takes on a different perspective, however, when a country undergoes a fundamental transfor- mation of its economic system, as Russia did after the demise of the Communist Party system and central planning in 1991. An underlying assump- tion during this process was that with a newly adopted democracy and a market system would come transparency and Western market-system mores (mostly positive ones, though a few Enron- like values could be expected as well). That corruption was so deeply entrenched in Rus- sian history and culture did not seem to matter. True, the philosopher Nikolai Berdyaev had noted that in the czarist era “bribery is the only constitution in our life.” Short stories by Nikolai Gogol, “The Inspector General” and “Dead Souls,” as well as Leo Tolstoy’s novels, also reflected this reality. Russia in general provides an excellent sense of how deeply ingrained corruption was in nineteenth-century autocracies. Corruption flourished under twentieth-century com- munist states as well. Yet, with the collapse of the Soviet Union in Russia, there was to be a new begin- ning and a new mentality. Unfortunately, that has not happened. Without a transformation in the underly- ing conditions that nurture corrupt behavior, there is no reason to expect any real change. T HE PERFECT CLIMATE In both the czarist and Soviet eras, the state was all-powerful. In the late nineteenth century, after the emancipation of the serfs and the substantial growth of semi-private industries, hints emerged of a growing business sector that on occasion proved somewhat independent of the state. However, the absence in Russia of the Renaissance and Reforma- tion as well as a commercial or industrial awaken- ing meant there was almost no legitimate force willing or able to challenge the absolute power of the czar or affect the czar’s ability to dictate land use and resource distribution. This provided a perfect climate for influence peddling and bribery. Moreover, with the exception of St. Petersburg
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Image of page 2
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 04/24/2010 for the course MARK 3336 taught by Professor Cox during the Spring '10 term at University of Houston - Downtown.

Page1 / 6

RussianGraft - While we normally think of corruption as...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 2. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online