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Tag: corruption

God, luck and Viktor Orbán

Over the last ten years, Hungary has become a textbook example of systemic corruption and clientelism in the heart of the European Union. Yet despite the fact that EU institutions have developed a wide range of tools, they could barely curb Viktor Orbán’s regime with regards to its feudal system of corruption.
In order to understand the nature of Viktor Orbán’s regime in Hungary, it is worth reading the classic Hungarian novel Relatives by Zsigmond Móricz. Móricz tells the story about a fictional town that is a hotbed of systemic corruption and a clientelist network of provincial nobility between the wars in Hungary. After 30 years since the democratic transition, its thesis about feudal dependency applies to contemporary Hungary more than ever: “In a certain way, everybody depends on the government.”

January 28, 2020 - Edit Zgut

Azerbaijan: A new chapter?

Azerbaijan may not be on the cusp of a major reform, but developments of recent months have formed the most interesting socio-political dynamics this rather boringly-stable Caspian Republic has seen since 2003.

It is not the first time “reform” has become a buzz word in Azerbaijan. The authorities made several pledges in the past to overhaul and diversify the economy and uproot corruption – especially ahead of elections or in moments of social unrest. Yet apart from a few cosmetic changes, the system and its people remained largely intact. So when the 57-year old president recently announced a package of sweeping reforms and started replacing older officials with young technocrats, many shook their heads in disbelief, taking it as yet another empty promise aimed to pacify the public and create a façade of change.

January 28, 2020 - Anna Zamejc

Big brother to the rescue? Can artificial intelligence help in Ukraine’s fight against corruption?

The US Ukraine scandal has been in the news 24/7 in the United States for over a month now. Consistent with the origin of the inquiry, the focus has been more on the United States than Ukraine. This article examines a recent development in Ukraine’s fight against corruption that got lost amidst the all other Ukraine-related news.

November 12, 2019 - Kristina V. Arianina

Latest Trump-Ukraine scandal reveals there is plenty of blame to go around

Trump’s new scandal is damaging for both Democrats and Republicans, writes Taras Kuzio in an op-ed for NEE.

September 26, 2019 - Taras Kuzio

How many Ministries of Truth does Bulgaria have?

Bulgarian state institutions compete in disseminating falsehoods.

September 6, 2019 - Radosveta Vassileva

Corrupt yes, Russian spy unlikely

A review of House of Trump, House of Putin. The Untold Story of Donald Trump and the Russian Mafia. By: Craig Unger. Publisher: Transworld Publishers, London, 2018.

August 26, 2019 - Taras Kuzio

Vanity Fair: doctoral dissertations on sale in Ukraine

Buying a doctorate may sound surprising. Unfortunately Ukraine has a well-developed market with dissertations.

July 31, 2019 - Ararat L. Osipian

Georgian Democracy: Pulling the blinds on a glass house

Buildings covered in glass have become a symbol of transparency and reform in Georgia. They have also become associated with a man who has placed himself above all that happens in Tbilisi.

May 6, 2019 - Nick Baigent

On same-sex marriage and corruption in Bulgaria and Romania

LGBTI issues are becoming a fig leaf hiding corruption within the political class of EU member states Bulgaria and Romania.

October 31, 2018 - Radosveta Vassileva

Corruption is Russia’s biggest export

An interview with Ilya Zaslavskiy, head of research at the Free Russia Foundation. Interviewer: Olena Babakova

OLENA BABAKOVA: After the United States introduced new sanctions against Russian oligarchs in April this year, the value of their companies collapsed and the exchange rates of the rouble sky rocketed. The West showed, once again, that it can still exert pressure on Russia. Is this a long-term problem for the Russian economy or has it already learnt how to adapt to such restrictions?

ILYA ZASLAVSKIY: I think we should examine whether the Kremlin and its business circles adapted to the western sanctions or whether the economy as a whole adapted. The regime found ways to continue with its current policies and its various confidants that have been targeted still have lots of money in offshore accounts, so they only feel threatened but not bitten. Even more importantly, they feel confident. However, if we talk about the quality of life and wealth of ordinary Russians, standards have obviously dropped. Some estimates say it has fallen by as much as a third. However this is still better than the situation in the 1990s.

September 1, 2018 - Ilya Zaslavskiy Olena Babakova

Yulia Tymoshenko’s second attempt to hire US political consultants

The money trail left behind by Yulia Tymoshenko ahead of the 2019 presidential elections in Ukraine raises some serious questions.

July 24, 2018 - Taras Kuzio

Who Voted for Ukraine’s Anti-Corruption Court?

Who is for and who is against reforms in the Ukrainian parliament? The answer to that question might be more complex than it might seem at first glance.

June 11, 2018 - Taras Kuzio

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