Russian Military Corruption - scale and causes

FFI-Report 2005

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Tor Bukkvoll
This report discusses the scale of and the causes for the high level of military corruption in Russia. While it for obvious reasons is difficult to find hard data for the true scale of this phenomenon, it is still possible to make calculations based on publicly available data. The sources used here are mainly figures released by the Russian Military Procuracy, and estimates made by independent Russian experts and journalists as reported in the Russian press. The causes of military corruption in Russia are discussed on three levels: the individual, the institutional and the political level. At the individual level the attention is on rational cost-benefit analysis. The main question is if Russian officers are most often faced by “low-risk, high profit” or “high risk, low-profit” calculus when they decide on whether or not to engage in corrupt activities. At the institutional level the focus is on the web of informal rules, constraints and habits that exist within the Russian officer corps with regard to corrupt activities. Finally, at the political level the relationship between the Armed Forces, the controlling and prosecuting agencies, and the political leadership is discussed.

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