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Article

Understanding the survival of post-Communist corruption in contemporary Russia: The influence of historical legacies

Post-Soviet Affairs. 2015. Vol. 31. No. 4. P. 304-338.

Corruption is widespread throughout the former Communist states, and it is particularly severe and entrenched in Russia. Despite the fact that Russia's contemporary corruption has recently become a subject of analysis, there is, however, no study that has addressed the role of the Communist legacy in the development of various aspects of corruption. This paper contributes to the debates through, first, disentangling the complex phenomenon that is corruption, and focusing on its three aspects: supply, demand, and the attitude of the population. Second, the paper also contributes to the literature on modern corruption by explicitly focusing on the role of the historical legacy in these different aspects of corruption. The study is based on several rich data-sets on corruption and on an original data-set compiled to measure the percentage share of Communists in various regions of Russia in the last decades of the USSR (1970s-1980s). The analysis presented in the paper uncovers different roles of the Communist legacies across the development of various aspects of corruption. By doing so, the paper contributes to the literature on historical legacies in general, on Communist legacies in particular, as well as to the broader literature on the causes of corruption in transitional societies. © 2014 Taylor & Francis.