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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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“A Grave Evil and Danger”

“A Grave Evil and Danger”

Postwar “Campaigns” against Bribery

(p.141) 5 “A Grave Evil and Danger”
The Art of the Bribe

James Heinzen

Yale University Press

As chapter 5 shows, beginning in mid-1943 and accelerating in the following years, concern was building among law enforcement and party authorities that bribery was becoming more prevalent. A postwar “campaign” expressed the goal of eradicating this scourge from the Soviet landscape. Why was the bribe such a source of disquiet? Authorities expressed anxiety that its existence could erode the legitimacy of institutions and, ultimately, of the regime itself, in the eyes of the population. An antibribery drive was launched in 1946, and periodically (if briefly) re-energized over the next six years; the main, but not exclusive, target was corruption in the courts and in the branches of the state prosecutors’ office. This “campaign,” however, was seriously flawed in practice, not least of all because it was waged in complete secrecy. Why were authorities so slow to pursue bribery, and to allow public discussion of the problem? An analysis of the contentious internal conversations surrounding the postwar “struggle against bribery” provides insight into official attitudes toward the crime, and hesitation by central party officials and the legal agencies to press forward enthusiastically with measures to control it.

Keywords:   Training, Professionalization, Cadres, Ideology, Penal policy

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