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Gazprom - State Sponsored Strategic Corruption

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"The Rise of Strategic Corruption
How States Weaponize Graft"
Foreign Affairs, July/August edition 2020



The plot’s political objectives and Firtash’s apparent involvement elevates this sordid tale from the level of ordinary sleaze to that of strategic corruption. Firtash is a well-known figure in Ukraine. For many years, he managed trade with Ukraine for Gazprom, the state-controlled Russian gas company that is, in the words of the economist and Russia expert Anders Aslund, “probably Russia’s foremost geopolitical tool in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.” For Russia, effective control of the gas trade in and through Ukraine is a national objective of paramount importance. And Firtash was Gazprom’s man in Kyiv; indeed, according to Aslund, “Firtash appears to have been a Kremlin influence agent rather than a businessman.”

What is weaponized Strategic Corruption? 


In bureaucratic and grand corruption, the payer and the payee are mainly just trying to get rich. In strategic corruption, by contrast, the greed is still there, for at least some of the players, but the corrupt inducements are wielded against a target country by foreigners as a part of their own country’s national strategy. Sometimes, but not always, these schemes entail violations of the law, including by citizens of the target country. In other cases, the conduct may be technically legal but still involves “the perversion or destruction of integrity in the discharge of public duties,” as the venerable Oxford English Dictionary’s definition of “corruption” puts it. For that reason, some corrupt acts are punishable by law; other kinds must be left to the judgment of citizens, if they are brought to light.


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