Corruption in Russia: A Historical Perspective

There seems to be general agreement among specialists that corruption is particularly rampant in post-communist Russia. It is, therefore, not the intention of the author to add yet another accusation to the already voluminous existing literature on the alarming situation of Russian politico-economic life.

Rather, the main  purpose of this paper is to investigate the causes of the corruption in present-day Russia from the viewpoint of the ethical or moral consciousness of the Russians, and to trace back the historical path towards the sources of their social mentality.

This paper is organized as follows. In Section 1, the current situation regarding corruption in Russia is briefly summarized, and the relationship between corruption, on the one hand, and Russian legal culture and its moral awareness, on the other, is examined.

Section 2 describes so-called ‘legal nihilism’, one of the characteristics of Russian legal culture, and Section 3 deals with ‘ethical dualism’, another feature of Russian moral consciousness the author would like to emphasize. In the final section, general relations between corruption and economic  development are considered, and their implications for the  economic prospects of Russia are explored.


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