Combatting Corruption

Authored by: Tatiana Kostadinova , Maria Spirova

The Routledge Handbook of East European Politics

Print publication date:  August  2017
Online publication date:  August  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138919754
eBook ISBN: 9781315687681
Adobe ISBN:


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Corruption in post-communist Europe has been a common topic in both popular and academic literature. Scandals about politicians taking kick-backs and bribes, appointing party loyalists, business connections, or friends to important positions in the state administration, and buying and controlling votes have brought governments out of power, caused concern in Brussels, and lowered public trust in democratic politics throughout the region. The academic literature on corruption, and combatting corruption specifically, naturally reflects the development of this process. As corruption came to be seen as a ubiquitous phenomenon taking various forms in post-communist Europe, attempts at explaining it focused mostly on the legacy of the previous regimes (Sajó 1998; Karklins 2002, 2005; Holmes 2006). Further variation in the practice of corruption and criticisms of the overzealous theorising linking current levels of malfeasance to the nature of the old regimes (Sajó 1998, 37–38) ushered in a plethora of new, more specific arguments. They emphasise the role of democratic institutional reform, liberalisation and privatisation, party competition, EU accession, and new political actors in curbing and preventing corruption. More recently, scholars turned their attention to the possible consequences of the abuse of public office in Eastern Europe for political culture and participation (Kolarska-Bobinska 2002; Anderson and Tverdova 2003; Tavits 2008; Kostadinova 2009).

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