After the collapse of the USSR, post-Soviet countries experienced a corruption boom. The following two decades demonstrated that corruption did not decline in most post-Soviet countries. Instead, a transformation of the corruption system changed it from chaotic to institutionalized corruption, by which corruption becomes taken for granted way of thinking and doing in the public organization that constitutes more or less stable rules and routines. This study investigates and explains the emergence and institutionalization of corruption rules and routines in post-Soviet public organizations from the last decade of the USSR existence until the first decade of the new millennium. It provides us with lenses to see corruption in an entirely new light beyond mere acts of infringement of conventional norms of public integrity.
The study infers that corruption in post-Soviet public organizations is not merely an act of abuse of power, but a living, transforming, evolving organizational phenomenon. It is facilitated by the political-economic system and reproduces organizational corruption. The process of decentralization of appropriation of power initiated after the death of Stalin lasted until the extreme decentralization in the first decade after the collapse of the USSR. Following the dissolution of the USSR, the ensuing corruption boom can be understood as the result of the disintegration of the Soviet states’ appropriation system. Although contextual factors of the process differed significantly across post-Soviet countries, overall, the appropriation system obtained a new shape typical to all the states on the territory of the former USSR. At the core of this newly shaped appropriation system lay the monopolization of money-generating opportunities through taking control over the state. Over time, the institutionalization of corruption brought about explicit rules and procedures that restricted officials’ corrupt behavior. In this respect, institutional instability was a pre-condition for the institutionalization of corruption that in the final instance created a centralized corruption system and expropriated officials from ownership of corruption income in the discussed cases.

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S.G.J. Van de Walle (Steven) , K.H. Stapelbroek (Koen)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Department of Public Administration and Sociology (DPAS)

Aliyev, Z. (2019, March 14). Institutionalization of corruption in post-Soviet public organizations. Retrieved from