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  1. Do you believe that corruption was and still is a big obstacle to the development of post-communist nations?
  2. How a high level and certain forms of corruption might have damaged the transition?

After the collapse of the Soviet system, corruption in post-communist countries surged. Some of the post-communist nations were more successful in dealing with corruption than others. Do you believe that corruption was and still is a big obstacle to the development of these nations? Please explain why. How has a high level of corruption and certain forms of it damaged the transition? In the beginning of the 1990s, new countries emerged in Eastern Europe with the collapse of the Communist Bloc, and they broke from the socialist ideology. They began a difficult economic transition from a planned communist economy to a market ruled economy. It was not a short and easy process because there were a lot of economic, social and cultural resistances to it, and among them was the problem of corruption. At this time, corruption was a widespread practice in almost all the former Soviet countries. It could have taken different forms: bribery, trading in influence, graft, patronage, embezzlement, kickbacks etc. Corruption is still present in some of the former Soviet countries today. It can be seen as a bad cultural habit inherited from the past especially from the system of the Nomenklatura. However I think that corruption can only be partially explained by cultural factors and that each society needs to have fixed rules for it to develop.

[...] For example in Bulgaria there is a conflict between the necessity of reducing state intervention in the economy due to the strong incidence of corruption and the will of the state, inherited from the communist past, to control the resources . It is one of the most difficult problems confronting the program for battling corruption in Bulgaria. The state has to find a place in this ambivalence. More generally we can say that corruption is both a reason for ruining the foundations of the economy and a consequence of their weaknesses. [...]

[...] During the transition period it was a determining factor for the economic development. Today the result is that many countries who didn't succeed in making corruption vanish felt behind the other countries: it is mainly the case with Central Asian countries. I think that in Eastern Europe corruption was one of the major obstacle to economic transition and it had disastrous effects on economic development both in the private and in the public sector. In the private sector, corruption led to economic distortions because funding was no longer allocated in terms of economic efficiency, like in a system of pure and perfect competition, but according to financial rewards. [...]

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