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Günther G. Schulze and Nikita Zakharov

Russian corruption is the focus of this chapter, where the authors put forth an intriguing argument: the state holds wages artificially low, and in return officials reap the benefits of kickbacks and embezzlement, which cements their political loyalties. Unlike democracies, corruption in autocratic states may help to promote stability. They hold that this state of affairs is the path-dependent result of a long historical trajectory that finds its origins during the Mongol occupation in the thirteenth through the fifteenth centuries. This so-called kormlenie system of systemic corruption persisted after the Bolshevik revolution, all throughout the seven decades of the USSR, and into the current kleptocracy under Putin. The authors conclude by looking at strategies to rein in corruption, including higher salaries and legislative initiatives.