UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)



Elena Denisova-Schmidt (2014) ‘Institutional Performance and Social Values in Russia’

The report summarizes the results of the survey conducted within WP4 ‘The Ethnographic Study of Corruption Practices’ (ANTICORRP) and provides some information on trust and experiences with local institutions, as well as serious problems in the community, the quality of services provided by institutions and access to these services, social norms and values in Russia. One of the most interesting results of the study is the ambivalence it revealed: institutions might be bad and good at the same time, and gifts might be both helpful and unhelpful. This tendency needs further investigation.


Download paper

Andrew Wilson (2014) ‘Ukraine: the New Sick Country of Europe’. In: Mungiu-Pippidi, Alina, (ed.) The Anticorruption Frontline. The Anticorruption Report vol. 2. (16 - 24). Barbara Budrich Publishers: Germany.

The Ukrainian Uprising in February 2014 was both caused by, and helped reveal, the extent of corruption in the country. Estimates are now that President Yanukovych and his circle stole $100 billion in just under four years. Ukraine has always been a badly-governed neo-patrimonial state; corruption has been endemic since independence in 1991. It now faces a huge task to put its house in order as Russia claims it is basically a ‘failed state’.


Download paper

Hanley, Seán and Allan Sikk (2014) ‘Economy, corruption or floating voters? Explaining the breakthroughs of anti-establishment reform parties in eastern Europe’. Party Politics (published online)

This paper discusses a new group of parties that we term anti-establishment reform parties (AERPs), which combine moderate social and economic policies with anti-establishment appeals and a desire to change the way politics is conducted. We analyse the electoral breakthroughs of AERPs in central and eastern Europe (CEE), the region where AERPs have so far been most successful. Examples include the Simeon II National Movement, Movement for the European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) (Bulgaria), Res Publica (Estonia), New Era (Latvia), TOP09 and Public Affairs (Czech Republic) and Positive Slovenia. We examine the conditions under which such parties broke through in nine CEE states in 1997–2012 using fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA). We find five sufficient causal paths combining high or rising corruption, rising unemployment and party system instability. Rising corruption plays a key role in most pathways but, unexpectedly, AERP breakthroughs are more closely associated with economic good times than bad.

Download paper

Ledeneva, Alena (2013) ‘Russia’s Practical Norms and Informal Governance: The Origins of Endemic Corruption’. Social Research, 80 (4), 1135-1162.

Corruption in Russia is of endemic nature. This article traces its roots to traditional practices that formed a foundation of the present-day system of governance, often referred to as ‘sistema’. It demonstrates how the logic of ‘feeding,’ ‘joint responsibility’ and ‘Potemkin villages’ is reproduced in the reliance of Putin’s network-based governance system on such instruments as undeclared incentives, informal affiliations, hidden agendas and warning signals. Putin’s sistema gives dynamism to government’s economic and political projects by engaging personalized influence, but at the same time its informal and non-transparent nature creates a fertile ground for corruption and makes its mitigation difficult. I argue that corruption it Russia could not be effectively managed unless its leaders understand the system of governance they operate in and articulate its consequences, of which endemic corruption is one of the most devastating for the country.

Download paper

Bratu, Roxana (2013) ‘The Former Soviet Union’. In: Mungiu-Pippidi, Alina, (ed.) Controlling Corruption in Europe. (55 - 68). Barbara Budrich Publishers: Germany.

This report analyses efforts to control corruption in twelve countries of the Former Soviet Union (FSU), namely Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Russia. It argues that despite a general trend towards the augmentation of anti-corruption interventions, national contexts each show different degrees of integration between global anti-corruption and local enforcements. The evidence indicates tensions between internationally-led policies and local practices.