The art of the bribe: Corruption and everyday practice in the Late Stalinist USSR

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Abstract

By drawing on materials in Soviet legal and party archives, James Heinzen explores the phenomenon of bribery in the decade between 1943 and 1953. Bribery, the prototypical type of corruption, enveloped people from all walks of Soviet life. Heinzen examines bribery as a mode of negotiation between common people and officials in the political and social context of late Stalinism, in a time of scarcity, reconstruction, and mass arrests. Discussing the diverse varieties of bribery, Heinzen illustrates how law, Stalinist ideology, popular attitudes, and everyday practices often stood in conflict. Graft had its own subculture with shared attitudes, rituals, and venues. Attitudes differentiating between accepting and offering bribes are explored, as is the existence of a veritable "market" for bribery, in which intermediaries played an important role.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)389-412
Number of pages24
JournalSlavic Review
Volume66
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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