Evolution of the Concept of Political Corruption in Western and Russian Political Science and Law

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Stanislav Sheverdyaev, Alina Shenfeldt


As a result of intensive international debate and the adoption of a number of renowned international anticorruption conventions and initiatives in the 1990s and 2000s, the issue of corruption has become a convenient theme for different kinds of generalizations in social sciences. However, national legislation does not reflect these developments in its legal regulation due to conservatism inherent in jurisprudence. One of the most evident gaps in this respect is the sphere of political corruption. While political science and political economy for decades have been successful in explaining political processes in different countries as corrupt conspiracies of political elites, business structures, and other actors in the political process, legal science has kept itself separate from such problems and prefers to deal with individual acts of corruption. But if for criminal law such an approach seems logical due to the methodology of the criminal law, for other branches of law which set forth a systemic view on social processes – primarily administrative and constitutional – there seems to be an omission.

Nowadays, there is a quite favourable environment for the development of a consistent legal understanding of anticorruption in Russia. This has become possible thanks to current Russian administrative reforms, when the need for a highly professional bureaucracy led to a greater demand for various anticorruption mechanisms. The next possible step in Russia may be an attempt to ensure the effectiveness of well-proven anti-corruption methods of the political system as a whole.

In this article we propose a brief background to the evolution of the concept of political corruption in Western and Russian political and legal science, which entails the necessity of complex scientific legal synthesis on this issue, allows to discuss the existing methodological potential and creates new opportunities to build up appropriate systemic legislative models.

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