The Two Sides of Corruption in Russia
Corruption in Russia has been prominent since it was legal in the 17th century, when the tsar’s officers were allowed to take bribes. It was then illegalized, however never quite faded away especially during Soviet times when the conditions of the living people were harsh. It is still prominent in Russia today since the new capitalist country has not fully moved on from its socialist past. Understanding the historical content of corruption is critical in order to grasp the future of business in Russia. There is no evidence suggesting that corruption will end in the foreseeable near future. Therefore, in order for businesses, including foreign investors, to succeed, they must be willing to stray around the law because the competition is already doing so. Corruption allows to speed processes up sometimes, and even though it is morally unethical, it is an unspoken required component of making a profit in Russia. However, in order for Russia to succeed as a global superpower in the long run, corruption is a huge obstacle that needs to be diminished and eventually extinguished. Businesses have to be transparent and a legal system has to be established in order to punish corrupt acts and prevent corrupt government officials from passing corrupt laws. Implications are as important as actions in the world of politics. So just the fact that a person in power preaches an ideology or acts to support it does not automatically mean that this new ideology is the right one. Under corruption, any Russian is capable of creating new ways to hack into software. Hacking is not merely trying to steal someone else’s identity. Hacking is also considered to be a hobby and to be derived a young age. Corruption in Russia is so ubiquitous that it is accepted as just the way things get done, providing the only way to survive in the market. Corruption is not only pervasive in government officials abusing their power, but is also adopted by the regular citizens as normal in their everyday lives. Corruption is not something done to the people; it’s something the people do in their lives. Russian people have never experience lack of corruption yet, so they would have no idea how the economy would work without it. However, accepting corruption is not equivalent to the people viewing positive about it. Of course they would prefer the country without it. The people know how the world views Russia as a shady place where everyone is drinking on the job and paying bribes. Many people are frustrated about the regime of President Vladimir Putin, Mr. all-powerful, and thus there is generalization of the views of the outside world. The ruling elite reflect and represent the people who voted for them according to outside eyes. Therefore Russians have to be discomfited when they travel and are asked about the imprisonment of Pussy Riot or Mikhail Khodorkovsky. These are question that almost everybody does not have the correct answer to. The term blat originated in the early Soviet Union. During those times, there were always shortages and lines for food and every good that a consumer could or would want to get. In Russia’s Economy of Favours, Ledeneva points out that “to possess something that was not accessible to the majority, to obtain things that were sold out and were not available, or to enjoy goods in short supply became auxiliary motives for blat connections” (Ledeneva 22). In order to get a car, a Soviet citizen could wait months for the car dealer to supply him with one, or he could use his blat connection to expedite the process to days or a week or two. There are similarities between blat and modern day corruption in Russia. Corruption today is used in obtaining patents or licenses for starting up business. Using a corrupt officials aid will speed up the process. While others might wait for the law to pass the patent, one could be ahead of the competition by bribing the official and get first rights to the...
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