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The Art of the BribeCorruption Under Stalin, 1943-1953$
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James Heinzen

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780300175257

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300175257.001.0001

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“The Word ‘Bribe’ Was Never Mentioned”

“The Word ‘Bribe’ Was Never Mentioned”

Everyday Practice and the Art of the Bribe

(p.93) 3 “The Word ‘Bribe’ Was Never Mentioned”
The Art of the Bribe

James Heinzen

Yale University Press

The third chapter turns to an examination of popular perceptions of the bribe, situating the practice within traditions of gift-giving to officials. Chapter 3 argues that it is productive to evaluate bribery as a type of negotiation shaped by personal and collective values, rather than simply as a contemptible act to be condemned morally. As such, the scope of actions labeled as “bribery” in this study is framed not exclusively by the Soviet criminal code but also by the outlooks, customs, social obligations, and practices of petitioners and officials. The chapter explores the micro-level of everyday interactions. How did people decide who to give gifts to? What kinds of assumptions did they bring to the negotiations? And how did petitioners and officials justify their actions, both as givers and as acceptors of gifts?

Keywords:   Public perception, Language, Gift giving, Informal relationships, blat, bribery, Practice of bribery, Intermediates, Culture of corruption, Negotiation

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