Sunday, 25 November 2012

Putin's anti-corruption campaign is a big joke

Russian dictator Vladimir Putin's campaign against corruption is a big joke. Here we have one of the most corrupt politicians of all times fighting corruption! The Carnegie Moscow Center's Masha Lipman has written a good overview for the New Yorker:

Corruption is often described to have become the very texture of Russian life. (In 2011, according to the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index, Russia ranked a hundred and forty-third out of a hundred and eighty-two countries).
Yet the mechanisms and driving forces of the anti-corruption campaign recently launched by the government (In addition to the defense ministry, several other high-profile investigations of corruption are currently underway.) are hardly more transparent than the love life of the minister of defense.
Anti-corruption campaigns are generally a product of political competition: newly elected leadership come with clean hands to investigate the wrongdoings of their defeated predecessors. Yet in Russia we don’t have either political competition or a new leadership. The same leader in whose tenure graft and kickbacks have reached abominable proportions now sets out to expose corruption. It is speculated that the purpose of the current campaign is to boost Putin’s somewhat eroded popularity or to intimidate his elites into loyalty or both. Since the law-enforcement and the judiciary are under control it is up to the most powerful to decide who will be “sacrificed” so others be kept in fear. The choice of Serdyukov may have a special goal of tempering the discontent over the minister’s reforms caused among the military. And this choice was probably easier to make if the theory of the vengeful father-in-law is true.
But whatever the ultimate goal of the anti-corruption campaign, in the Russian political system built on informal client-patron ties, one should make sure that the investigations do not go in the “wrong ” direction so those who deserve to be covered up would not be affected.

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