Russia, Georgia, and Australia: Investigation of Police Corruption and Reform

Subject: Politics & Government
Pages: 55
Words: 16701
Reading time:
60 min
Study level: Master


The paper discusses challenges in modern Russia associated with the corruption in police. An attempt is made to analyse the police reform initiated by former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev in 2011, compare it with police reforms in Georgia and Australia, and estimate the reform effectiveness supported by recent data, statistics, and research. Some historical perspective of the roots of Russian police corruption is covered in frames of the study.

Directions of theoretical understanding regarding internal affairs bodies institutional perspective are suggested. Corruption manifestations in the police of modern Russia and their determinants are investigated in detail, as well as the core driving force of Medvedev police reform. Overall implications and recommendations are presented based on foreign best practices in the field of police reform and its everyday functioning.

The paper shows systemic nature of a corruption in the state, and, accordingly, corruption in police. One of the main implications of the research is the claim that the institutionalisation of corruption represents the process of turning the crimes of individual officials into a mass social phenomenon generally accepted by everyone. Based on secondary qualitative research, a conclusion is made about the ineffectiveness of the police reform under consideration; possible reasons of such situation are considered. Potential measures to improve the situation are proposed with stressing a crucial necessity of shaping anti-corruption worldview among Russian citizens.


The Phenomenon of Institutional Corruption

Since the end of the 19th century, the role of the state in the regulation of all social processes has increased tremendously and, accordingly, the power of officials raised to a greater extent. At the same time, big capital was emerging, and clans struggling for great economic benefits moved away from the system of giving episodic bribes to government officials towards the schemes of direct influence on the activities of elite politicians and senior officials (Bleakley, 2020).

Evidently, this put those officials at the service of their interests. At this period, the second stage in the study of the phenomenon of corruption began. It was characterised by an increase in the interest of social and human sciences to the problem of corruption and the fight against it. Within the framework of sociology, political science, economics and legal sciences, methodological approaches are being developed, describing the mechanism of the corrupt behaviour of public servants.

In sociology, corruption is understood as a dysfunctional phenomenon, pathology of society, generating in its deviant forms of relationships between people. Corruption represents a special social structure, that is, a set of stable and sufficiently universal norms, and principles of human relationships (Vergara, 2020). These norms are adapted to existence in various spheres of society. What is meant here are not individual, isolated cases and persons, but social groups that support this structure as the main or inalienable condition (source) of their existence (Bleakley, 2020). Here, corruption appears as an unofficial subsystem of social regulation that exists in parallel with the official mechanism for regulating public life.

As Tanzler & Maras (2016) state, this parallel system of regulation is generated by the ineffective activities of public authorities. In accordance with this approach, the corrupt behaviour of officials is defined as “informal, deviant behaviour of the governing elite, which is manifested in its illegitimate use of social benefits” (p. 65). Such a sociological understanding of the phenomenon of corruption is based on the theory of rational bureaucracy by Weber, the structural-functional approach and the theory of social anomie offered by Parsons and Merton.

Corruption studies present some estimates of corruption and allegations that in modern Russia, money involved in corruption exceeds funding provided in the annual state budget (Ferretti, 2018, p. 248). From this point of view, the volume of cash flows in frames of corruption mechanisms is comparable with the financial resources concentrated in the budget-forming sectors of the country’s economy. This fact gives reason to assess the corruption sphere as almost the main ‘sector’ of the national economy. At the same time, the critical problem of assessing the level of corruption is not associated with measuring its absolute value, but with revealing the extent of its prevalence.

When analysing corruption relations, one should distinguish between two concepts: the institution of corruption and institutional corruption (Jackson & Bradford, 2010; Miller, 2017). Market economy institutes ‘insure’ society against the degeneration of the market into a criminal system and serve as guarantors of stability and order in the economy. However, there is a certain destabilising factor of Russian society in relation to market economy institutions, causing a reaction of rejection of them, or their full abandoning. A significant part of the older population has nostalgia for the Soviet Union, a desire to see a strong authoritarian leader like Stalin at the head of the country, who is able to “restore order in the country” (Gorbunova, 2017, p. 8).

In such a situation, socio-economic relations inevitably withdraw into the shadows, and society becomes more criminalised. A shadow level of institutionalisation arises, supporting the stability of shadow interests and the way of their implementation (Newburn, 2015, p. 19). There are stable structures of criminal nature, which, as they spread and work, try to take a visibility of legal forms, remaining essentially criminal.

Such their development is dangerous for society since the institutionalisation of antisocial interests means an open submission of the life of society to the interests of closed groups. The formation of the institution of corruption is almost inevitable in the initial stages of the development of a state with a “professional bureaucracy.” However, in developed countries, this institution plays a relatively minor role in the system of social “rules of the game.” Episodic corruption only under certain specific conditions develops into a systemic (institutional) one (Thompson, 2018, pp. 503-504). Institutional corruption is a certain organisation of such interaction between producers and consumers of public services, in which corruption rules (institution of corruption) dominate over non-corruption ones.

One should note that in developed countries, corruption exists as one of the institutions, while in most developing countries – as the dominant institution, i.e., as institutional corruption (Kumssa, 2015, p. 6). The institutionalisation of corruption can be described as the process of turning the crimes of individual officials into a mass social phenomenon, generally accepted practice, a familiar element of the socio-economic system. Accordingly, the organisation of combating corruption in the police is considered a special case of institutional construction with mechanisms to encourage/punish compliance/violation of new rules. Thus, overall, this research background allows determining aim, objectives, and hypothesis of research.

Hypothesis. Objectives of the Research

The hypothesis of the research is as follows: police reform in Russia initiated by former president Dmitry Medvedev was ineffective and did not give expected results due to the institutional roots in police corruption in this country and systemic manifestations of corruption in Russian society.

The main aim of the research is to evaluate the level and factors of in/effectiveness of Medvedev’s 2011 police reform while comparing it with the undertaken measures with those from Australia and Georgia. The countries were chosen to compare two CIS states (each one with its specific path of development) between themselves and with one of the world leading countries of developed democracy. Despite seemingly similar directions and instruments of reform in Russia and Georgia, the results appear rather different, which can serve as a proof for the claim about significant influence of historical and institutional practices on systemic corruption in the country.

The following objectives can be formulated according to the specified research aim:

  • To conduct secondary research with the aim to evaluate the effectiveness of Medvedev’s police reform in Russia;
  • To consider the possibility of applying institutional theory for analysing turbulent processes observed in the police of today Russia
  • To investigate the experience of Russia, Georgia, and Australia, as well as their best practices;
  • To summarise the findings and propose appropriate recommendations in the field of police functioning and reform.

Research Question

Due to the limitations of agent theory, it seems appropriate to consider police corruption from the perspective of more universal theories, in particular, institutional theory. Today, there is a tendency to study corruption as an independent social phenomenon, which acquires a double context of comprehension as a theoretical and practical problem. At the same time, according to Kubbe and Engelbert (2017), in the conceptual foundations of strategic planning of anti-corruption policy, there is an understanding that the fight against corruption has socio-cultural prerequisites.

Another important circumstance also pushes to this conclusion. If one proceeds from the fact that the model of anti-corruption policy is a social project that addresses a wide range of research issues to assess the acceptability of the proposed measures, the lack of attention to sociological knowledge can affect the effectiveness of decisions in social design (Chayes, 2016). To have a clear idea of ​​the realistic conditions in which anti-corruption activities will be carried out, a conceptual study of the causes of the emergence and spread of corruption in the life of the individual and society will be required.

In recent decades, researchers in the study of corruption have turned not only to the structural features of the public administration system but also to the place and role of corrupt practices in different types of society. The ratios of public and latent in political systems have also been reviewed, which makes it possible to judge the degree of institutionalisation of corruption. Institutionalisation is understood as the process that forms the organisation of subjects by transforming their interaction into an institutional system with unchanged elements (della Porta & Vannucci, 2011, pp. 96-97). The institutionalisation of corruption is the process of turning the crimes of individual officials into a mass social phenomenon, generally accepted practice, a familiar element of the socio-economic system (Roman, 2014; Svensson, 2005).

Paradoxically, one can argue that the development of corruption relations is a characteristic of the development process of the management system, the value system. Moreover, the development and nature of corruption relations is correlated with several civilisational, political, economic and ideological characteristics (Rothstein, 2011). Accordingly, corruption as a criminological phenomenon is the result of the interaction of systems of corruption and anti-corruption relations, and, consequently, institutions.

We carry out the analysis of the methodological problems of the study of corruption as a social and criminological phenomenon, as well as corruption relations as the most important category. During this analysis, we accept the assertion that the sociology of law cannot but proceed from a much broader interpretation of corruption than, for instance, jurisprudence or criminal law. This is understandable because the law deals mainly with legal relations, while the sociology of law considers a wider range of social relations. Moreover, it focuses on the subjects of these relations (social groups and individuals taken in unity with the system of moral and legal values). It integrates various aspects of such a complex phenomenon – economic, political, legal, psychological, cultural, civilisation, ethnic and others, which demonstrate corruption relations.

In this context, the main research question suggests an attempt to combine study areas and tools related to the issue of institutional and systemic corruption to give assessment to Russia police reform under President Medvedev in comparison with police reforms in Georgia and Australia.

Methodology and Limitations

The methodology of research implies secondary qualitative study with subsequent content analysis with the application of some elements of grounded theory. The method is chosen due to the non-expediency of collecting primary data on the topic of police corruption in Russia with the use of comparative method. The main limitation consists in the fact that relying only on the secondary data implies a risk of subjective opinions. Thus, the verification of the validity of results becomes difficult. Moreover, researchers’ bias and personal political preferences cannot be excluded from consideration. However, working with credible literature and using reports of such consulting companies as Deloitte and PwC allows confirming the trustworthiness of data.

Literature Review

Theoretical Understanding of Corruption

A content analysis tool and some elements of the grounded theory (namely, categorisation) will be used for processing = the results of secondary data. One of the urgent tasks is the determination and development of anti-corruption methods. The primary role is played by the theoretical explanation of the observed processes, the identification of their causes and consequences and relationships within the system of institutional corruption (Miller, 2017). Bendickson, Muldoon, Davis and Liquori (2016) note that the development of a theoretical and methodological approach with the agent theory can help solve this problem.

Among its advantages, there is the versatility of such an approach: the agent theory has been developed and successfully applied in economics, political science and management sociology. However, until recently, the use of the agent theory has been limited in anti-corruption research. Vanucci (2015) and some other researchers analyse the issues of public administration and corruption, but these studies are few.

The first researcher to analyse the problems of the agent theory in the sociology of management was Max Weber. He presented three types of legitimate domination and argued that the modern state exercised dominance over its citizens with the help of bureaucracy (Miller, 2017). Therefore, the necessary condition for the normal functioning of state power is the work of bureaucracy, based on formal rationality.

Tanzler and Maras (2016) argue that “such rationality presupposes the development and transformation of modern bureaucracy into the totality of working people, highly qualified specialists in spiritual work, professionally trained for many years, with highly developed class honour, guaranteeing impeccability, without which there would be a serious danger of corruption and “low philistinism” (pp. 24-25). Thus, according to Weber’s concept, the spread of corruption among public servants is associated with the irrational organisation of their activities (Vergara, 2020).

In the structural functionalism of Parsons, it is stated that the main characteristic of any society is its structure, which is understood as “the totality of stable connections of an object, ensuring its integrity and identity to itself” (Sherman, 1974, p. 22). Corruption is also considered a structural element organically incorporated into the social system. Moreover, corruption activity is behaviour that deviates from social norms, which is informal in nature. Therefore, its complementarity with respect to formal institutions is an important characteristic of corruption.

In modern corruption, there are two main components – administrative and political (sometimes the latter is also called “big corruption”) (Feifer, 2014). The first is understood as the abuse of administrative civil servants, officials in the process of providing services to the population (registration, issuance of licenses, etc.). Political corruption is carried out at the level of the ruling elites, high-ranking officials who determine the fate of billion-dollar contracts, benefits and similar issues related to national security (Dawisha, 2014). Their patronage is a condition for the existence and development of corruption networks, giving them a systemic character, forming a negative attitude towards the authorities, exerting a negative impact on many aspects of social and political life, including bringing crime to a qualitatively new level.

Most experts recognise the inevitability of corruption. Some point to the regulatory function of corruption, noting that it belongs to the oldest and most effective techniques of social, economic, and state self-organisation (Schulze, Sjahrir, & Zakharov, 2016). There are known examples when, in a certain period, corruption is tolerantly perceived not only by representatives of the elites who benefit from it, but also by fairly wide sections of the population (Vergara, 2020). This allows assuming that in the absence of adequate and legitimate channels for representing the interests of citizens and the lack of faith of members of society in the ability of the state to be a real exponent of the general interest, corrupt behaviour can become a rational choice of society.

There is a non-linear relationship between political stability and corruption. It would seem that the higher is the level of political instability, the stronger is corruption. However, the strengthening of stability can also lead to an increase in corruption in states with weak laws, non-constructive administrative apparatus and unprotected property rights, which is the case of Russia. In the conditions of the insufficient efficiency of formal institutions of power, they are replaced by informal ones, primarily by corruption. It forms an institutional trap of ineffective equilibrium that most individuals have no incentive to resist. Thus, under certain conditions, corruption may be a factor in maintaining political stability.

Structural functionalism reveals the mechanism of the reproduction of this phenomenon. According to this approach, in a period of social stability, the prevalence of corruption is stable and is approximately at the same level that is characteristic of a particular society (Vergara, 2020). The situation is different when rapid changes occur in the social system and its structure is unstable.

To describe this situation, one should turn to the concept of social anomie. According to Bleakley (2019), this phenomenon occurs when “participants experience a fundamental disconnect with generally accepted societal norms and values” (p. 2). Anomie creates a situation in society in which its members are not able to achieve their goals by legal or approved by society means and ignore them, trying to achieve their goals by illegal tools. As a result, the situation of anomie leads to a drop in the authority of legal and moral norms and creates a demand for deviant forms of behaviour, including corrupt practices.

Modern sociology of management turned to the agent theory when the need arose for a deep analysis of the problems of public administration and the implementation of public policy. As illustrative examples, the works of Muktiyanto, Dwiyani, Hartati, Perdana and Possumah (2019) and Chrisidu-Budnik and Przedańska (2017) may be reviewed. Muktiyanto et al. (2019) utilise the agent theory to provide a comparative analysis of the development of corruption. The analysis by Chrisidu-Budnik and Przedańska (2017) is also based on the agent theory. Most of it is devoted to the issues of public administration and accompanying challenges in view of the agency theory.

The agent theory, despite a variety of approaches, traditions and points of view that exist within the framework of various scientific paradigms, can serve as an effective theoretical and empirical tool for a sociological analysis of such a negative phenomenon as corruption in public administration.

Combining Theories

This universal core consists in a special form of interaction between two types of social agents that are in relation to each other in a certain system of social dependence (Mocan, 2008, p. 507). This system of mutual dependence of the principal and the agent is asymmetric. On the one hand, it assumes their mutual obligations, and on the other hand, the unilateral binding relationship of the principal towards the agent. The latter characterises the universal properties of this type of social relations as agent-principal, regardless of the context of their implementation – private relations among citizens, contractual relations between employees and employers, or relations between a manager and executors in public administration.

With the help of an analysis using a variety of sociological and statistical tools in the field of police corruption, one can identify a whole range of problems in almost all areas of the organisation of interaction between the principal and the agent. In particular, serious failures and shortcomings in the organisation of agent relations at various levels of Russian government are clearly evident.

At the same time, if a police officer is involved in corrupt practices, the consequences of such offenses in most cases will be more dangerous than similar offenses by officials of other government organisations or industrial corporations. There are two reasons for this (Edelbacher, Dobovsek, & Kratcoski, 2015):

  1. The police is a government organisation that is entrusted by society with the task of monitoring the behaviour of other people, including employees of other government organisations. If the police are not trusted, society is left without a department that is obliged to ensure the rule of law and order in this society.
  2. Many types of activities of the police organisation remain outside the public eye, and often, this also applies to work with the subjects of crimes. Compared to the activities of other state organisations, the work of the police is characterised by a lower level of transparency not only for society but even for the police department itself. If the public agrees with such an approach, this means that society should trust the police more than other public services whose activities are completely open to the public.

The model of agent relations and the sociological analysis of the interaction between the principal and the agent in the public service are highly relevant. In this case, significant potential of the model of agent relations as a research tool is manifested. In addition, based on a sociological analysis of agent relations and a conflict of interest in the civil service, it is possible to formulate priority areas for reforming the civil service and management.

In addition, one can propose a methodology for providing an opportunity to compare the potential corruption of various government posts, various areas and various features of the agent’s interaction. Its main purpose is a thorough analysis of relations in bureaucratic hierarchies and technological support for the development of measures aimed at eliminating the causes of corruption in the state and municipal services. Such a technique can illustrate the potential of the model of agent relations as a tool for diagnosing and assessing the managerial situation in relation to the problem of corruption. Due to its use, the necessary analytical preparation and development of managerial measures necessary to eliminate the causes of corruption in the state and municipal services become possible.

Nevertheless, the existing differences in the implementation of the agent theory in the economic tradition, in the sociology of management and in political analysis do not rise above the instrumental level. They are caused, first of all, by the specific interests of researchers. Depending on the specific objectives of the study, appropriate research tools are selected. Due to this, such studies can vary significantly both in format and the nature of the results obtained.

At the same time, this does not mean that there are significant contradictions at the theoretical level. The most crucial problem is the differences in ways to simplify agent relations due to which their individual aspects disappear. In this regard, the task of combining various aspects of agent theory to solve such complex tasks as the analysis and development of anti-corruption strategies and programs becomes urgent.

“Network” Approach

The network approach, being one of the mainstream in modern political science, substantiates the importance of not the functionally role-playing aspects of the activities of state and non-state institutions but the interactive forms of communication among interested actors regarding the adoption and/or implementation of a particular decision (Edelbacher et al., 2015). Thus, it allows viewing corruption as an informal latent interaction of interdependent state and non-state actors, aimed at using public resources in narrow group interests. In this case, corrupt practices are understood as deviating from the existing social norms and legislative regulations but, at the same time, complementing the architecture of formal institutions (Chayes, 2016). In other words, the corruption network structures that are emerging in the system of public administration appear as a form of social exchange to overcome the obstacles created by the state.

Corruption networks can be classified as per the typology provided by Milward and Raab (2006). The viability of utilitarian networks is based on a small number of participants, the informality of contacts, close friendships or family relations, the absence of any elements of a formal organisational structure and the assignment of specific roles to each participant.

Acting at the micro-political level, corruption displaces all forms of civilian control from the design and planning of both tactical and strategic goals. By generating and strengthening the positioning of network alliances in the public administration system, institutional corruption divides the joint activities of public institutions, enhances non-constructive inter-institutional competition and undermines the functionality of government and government bodies (Chayes, 2016).

Thus, it is impossible to completely eradicate corruption practices – they affect any state system at different scales. However, they begin to pose a danger to the political and socio-economic development of the country if corruption turns into a systemic factor, institutional trap, inefficient self-sustaining institution (Slingerland, 2019, p. 17). This is precisely what is observed in the case of police corruption in Russia and its impacts of different public institutions.

The network organisation of corruption allows for a wide and massive coverage of participants, reducing the likelihood of its legal suppression since the attention of law enforcement agencies falls mainly on specific performers who are not directly connected with power centres in the network. Provided that there are many similar latent associations in the public administration system, corruption becomes a systemic factor organising its functioning on the conditions and in the interests of network decision centres. The spread of corrupt police networks ultimately leads to internal institutional restructuring of the state, indicating the intensity of cooperative processes, as well as a decrease in institutional control over the activities of officials and politicians.

Therefore, the government acting as a source of public values, can transform into a source of corruption if abuses for the sake of personal gain (Bayley & Perito, 2011; Roman, 2014). In other words, there is a substitution of functional institutional interactions that ensure the implementation of social needs, dysfunctional practices. Thus, the main research question can be formulated as follows: what are the results and implications of Medvedev’s 2011 police reform for Russian police and society as a whole in terms of institutionalism?

Corruption in the Internal Affairs Bodies as a Form of Corruption Crime: Knowledge Gap and Russian Context

When defining the scope of research, first of all, it is necessary to mention Federal Law of December 25, 2008 No. 273-FZ On Combating Corruption that is considered one of the main regulatory legal acts establishing the basic principles of corruption prevention and minimising and (or) eliminating the consequences of corruption offences (Cheloukhine, 2017). This federal law declares that the fact of corruption presupposes giving or receiving a bribe for personal gain. According to Cheloukhine (2017), in addition to money, benefits also include the transfer and acceptance of any form of ownership. Thus, the given concept contains the main types of acts recognised as criminal in the Russian Federation and, accordingly, the circle of persons liable for their commission.

However, in addition to the legal definition of corruption, there are other points of view, both scientific and domestic. In particular, the complexity of the problem of determining an unambiguous definition of corruption lies in the variety of manifestations of its forms: bureaucratic and political (corruption of officials and the political leadership), forced and concerted corruption, centralised and decentralised (Lambsdorff, 2007). At the same time, there is no the unambiguous understanding of corruption in academic literature.

Of particular interest is the everyday understanding of the phenomenon of corruption, which is an indicator of the level of corruption in society. In their research, Semukhina and Reynolds (2013) state that among the population, the most stable idea of corruption is bribery, i.e., bribes received by officials in the performance of their work or the provision of certain services (68.7%). Every second respondent considers abuse of official position as corruption (58.5%). A common opinion is the idea of corruption as extortion (44.6%), giving gifts to officials (31.8%) and using official position and public funds for personal interests (25.7%).

Back in 2011, on behalf of the President of the Russian Federation, the Ministry of Economic Development assessed the scale of “everyday” corruption in the country. The study involved 17.5 thousand citizens from 70 regions of the country. The traffic police were called as the most corrupt body of Russian citizens. A particularly sharp increase in the size of bribes was recorded in preschool institutions, universities, when contacting the police. At the same time, a decrease in annual corruption turnover was recorded in universities. The largest scale of corruption was noted in the Southern District (Kosals & Maksimova, 2015). It is followed by the North Caucasus and Central where the values of the generalised index of the level of corruption are significantly higher than in other districts (Kosals & Maksimova, 2015).

In general, what has been said allows considering corruption in internal affairs bodies as a form of corruption crime. The concept of police corruption appeared at the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries. Attention should be paid to the opinion of McMalen who formulated the following: an official is corrupt if he or she receives monetary compensation or material assets for intentionally failing to fulfil one’s official duties and also provides an unreasonable (unfair) preference for one of the parties (McMalen as cited in Mendilow et al., 2017, p. 36). Thus, the problem under consideration is not inherently new but still requires resolving.

A condition negatively affecting the state of anti-corruption protection of the internal affairs bodies is the practice of bribery and persuasion of employees to commit corruption acts, which is widespread in public circles (Vanucci, 2015). In addition, there is the concept of “long corruption memory,” when once giving a bribe, a person remembers this for more than one year, not considering that the situation in this structure has already changed significantly (Kubbe & Engelbert, 2017, p. 54).

However, in recent years (to a greater extent in 2015), according to the Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM), the number of citizens who believe that the authorities are the sphere most affected by corruption is decreasing. Back in March 2015, 34% of respondents ranked first the local authorities, and in October ‑ 17%. In relation to the federal authorities, the figures have changed similarly ‑ from 17% to 9%. As a result, the first line in the “anti-rating” was taken by the traffic police (from March to October, an increase from 25% to 32%).

The top three also included the police (21%) and the medical field (21%) (Schulze et al., 2016, pp. 145-156). Thus, it becomes obvious that the attitude of society towards corruption depends on a number of factors and can change. However, violated rights and legitimate interests always act as the outcomes of this phenomenon, which makes it necessary to study the issue of corruption in the internal affairs bodies and identify the reasons for its existence and seeking evidence-based countermeasures.

In the ranking of countries according to the corruption perception index of the non-governmental organisation Transparency International, compiled in 2016, Russia ranks 131st place (a total of 176 countries were included in the rating) (Schulze et al., 2016). If earlier corruption was usually discussed as one of the factors that negatively affects the entire economic and social system from the outside, then over the past 15-18 years it has turned into one of the main tools of public management, redistribution of resources, stimulating economic entities, into an important factor in the adoption of a large number of socio-economic solutions. According to studies, such a scale of corruption is associated with the following circumstances (Schulze et al., 2016):

  • A high level of state control of various industries, an increase in budget revenues due to high prices for hydrocarbons;
  • Non-transparent methods of using budget funds;
  • The creation of quasi-state giants in various industries and, as a consequence, a decrease in competition in the economy;
  • Transformation of a significant part of the relationship into commercial-monetary
  • The use of administrative levers of pressure for the purpose of personal enrichment, seizure of business, etc.

The fight against the problem in question, for instance, the demonstrative arrests of law enforcement officers and heads of organisations of various levels, is often ineffective (Feifer, 2014). There are real preconditions for the spread of corruption in Russia. These include both historical predisposition and multiculturalism, including the influence of a number of customs of Central Asian and Caucasian cultures, unfair privatisation, and other prerequisites (Dawisha, 2014). The above is enough to conclude that corruption in Russia is of a systemic nature.

Different resources can serve as a good base for analysis of the police reform results. When synthesising the available sources on corruption in Russian police, we can argue that monographs materials have been analysed for theoretical framing of the research, while scholarly articles, newspaper analytical articles and consulting companies’ reports constituted the base for understanding historical prospect, current state of the problem, and some vectors of possible development of situation.

The Concept of Corruption and Implication for Russia

Historical Background: Corruption in Russian Police in Historical Perspective

The problem of corruption in the pre-revolutionary Russian police had a long history. In the eyes of a layman, a police officer looked like a malicious bribe taker and extortionist (Polunov, Owen, & Zakharova, 2015). Since the era of the formation of Muscovite Russia, in state administration, the patrimonial principle of organising law enforcement services has been preserved. The city police then had a powerful administrative resource that was used to establish bureaucratic control over private business in the Russian Empire. Top police officers issued permits for the maintenance of clubs and the organisation of gambling in them (Daly, Smele, & Melancon, 2018). Owners of taverns, restaurants, trade and drinking establishments, brothels, cesspool and scrap carts, coachmen and horse racing organisers were also under the control of the entire city police.

The petty bureaucratic custody of small business representatives only contributed to the preservation and development of the old traditions of virtually legal extortion. Owners of taverns and restaurants paid for extending the term of their establishments, attract female choirs, and entertainment programs. Gambling establishments officially opening under the guise of clubs were also a constant source of police income (Daly et al., 2018, p. 33).

Police officers influenced those who did not want to share their income by such methods as drawing up protocols on unsanitary conditions, sudden checking of documents of clients of establishments several times a day, putting up a police post to inspect “suspicious visitors,” closing the institution on a far-fetched pretext, and other measures. (Daly et al., 2018, pp. 18-19). At the same time, as Polunov et al. (2015) note, the tradition of receiving various rewards from the population to the servants of the sovereigns was born.

These traditions appeared under the dominance of subsistence farming when cash was limited. In the conditions of the development of market relations, corruption in the pre-revolutionary police acquired a systemic character (Riasanovsky & Steinber, 2018). Both ordinary and political criminals were released for bribes, and the publication of closed anti-government newspapers was allowed. Nevertheless, as commodity-money relations developed, and they not only remained in the Russian police until the abolition of serfdom, but they were also reproduced until the 1917 revolution.

Later, in 1947, in the USSR, the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of the USSR Serov admitted the following nuance: “there is a secretly established fee for registration in sensitive areas, for acquiring a passport, for a passport for a car, etc.” (Heinzen, 2016, pp. 199-202). In 1949, 27 judges and 22 court employees were convicted of bribes in the country (Service, 1998, p. 57). In the police, a bribe entered all services directly in contact with citizens.

Later, by the end of the 60s, a system of clan checks and balances took shape and worked properly in the country (Heinzen, 2016). However, corruption was the leverage; on the one hand, Moscow has always had incriminating evidence on the main players in the republics, and on the other hand, due to such a supply, the elite strengthened its position. Corruption, arbitrariness, a stick system, the illegal use of violence and pressure on the opposition for political reasons are most often issues associated with the police. However, these problems are not discussed in deep both in scholarly literature and in the expert community, which emphasises the relevance of the research. In this context, the main purpose of this chapter is to consider the specific features of corruption in Russian police in frames of the institutional corruption in Russian society.

Corruption Manifestations in the Internal Affairs Bodies of Modern Russia and Their Determinants

Currently, the term corruption has firmly entered the vocabulary of various segments of the population. The results of many opinion polls indicate the prevailing opinion in society about the impossibility of realising their rights and legitimate interests without any corruption component. Since 2008, the Russian Federation has developed and published several regulatory legal acts that enshrined the fight against corruption. In addition, a reform was carried out in the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia, which took place in 2011-2012 with the aim of increasing the efficiency of the work of Russian law enforcement agencies, in particular, the fight against corruption and improving the image of law enforcement agencies, initiated by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

Any modernisation, including in the field of public relations (political, economic, legal or organisational), state building as a whole or its individual institutions is, to a certain extent, a necessary measure; it is determined by a number of factors and circumstances of social development. In relation to the modernisation of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia, one of such determinants was the political and social need to begin to solve the accumulated load of the problems of functioning of the internal affairs bodies so that this load did not reach its critical point. The Decree of the President of the Russian Federation No. 1468 was cardinal attempt to prevent such a prospect, which was followed by a series of decisive measures, from re-certification of personnel to the formation of a virtually new law enforcement institution – the police institution.

It is known that the tragic incident of 2009 in the Moscow supermarket when Russian police major Denis Yevsykov fired on visitors became the impetus for transformations in the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation. Dmitry Medvedev who was Russian President initiated a large-scale reform of the Ministry, which was supposed to clear its ranks and increase the efficiency of employees. Semukhina (2018) note that on December 24, 2009, Presidential Decree No. 1468 “On measures to improve the activities of the internal affairs bodies of the Russian Federation” was adopted. This decree and subsequent normative legal acts defined a set of measures aimed at personnel and logistical development of internal affairs bodies and additional monetary incentives.

The main attention was paid to the creation of a new legal framework for the police. An extraordinary re-certification of 875.3 thousand employees was carried out, which resulted in a significant reduction (by 20%) in the staff of the internal affairs bodies (Semukhina, 2018, p. 164). A number of fundamental legislative acts have been adopted that meet all existing international police standards. However, the standards as such will not have practical value until their content and significance through education and training become part of the creed of each law enforcement body.

Preliminary Evaluation of Measures Taken

When analysing the reform process, one should note that during the implementation of democratic and legal, as well as economic transformations, it is not always possible to achieve the intended results in such countries as Russia. Russia is sometimes mentioned as the most corrupt state in the world (Vergara, 2020). Moreover, at times, there is a clear exacerbation of individual problems (Galeotti, 2012). A striking example is the fact that today, ensuring compliance with and protecting the rights of law-abiding Russian citizens is a problem that concerns both human rights movements and executive bodies, including their entire law enforcement bloc. History shows that in the process of the formation of the domestic criminal policy of the state, measures to combat various criminal manifestations were tightened.

The reform entailed the transformation of the militia into the police. Nevertheless, it was not enough to rebrand the department since it was necessary to change society itself. There are some reasonable postulates: the police must provide citizens with services because they are supported by taxpayers. Accordingly, it should not be a repressive force but part of the public services sector. Despite all the positive aspects of the reform, its results have not been achieved comprehensively. Many problems remained, and they still have to be resolved.

According to the initiator of the reform, Medvedev, the militia department received a new name but people employees remained the same (Cheloukhine, Ivkovic, Haq & Haberfeld, 2015). Cheloukhine et al. (2015) cite President’s words: “No one should expect that in six months, as a result of administrative reforms, we will have a new police force” (p. 64). He added that during the recertification 200 thousand people were fired, but “this does not mean that everyone else has become different” (Cheloukhine et al., 2015, p. 65). Nevertheless, the violations of official discipline and law in the police continue to occur – 98,940 police officers throughout Russia in the first half of 2013 violated the discipline (Cheloukhine et al., 2015, p. 42). This figure was extremely high and confirmed the low success of the reorganisation activities.

The extraordinary certification of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia aimed to neutralise corruption in the internal affairs bodies, raise the level of citizens’ trust in the police, increase its credibility through high-quality selection for the service, form a professional core and achieve other valuable outcomes. However, corruption in law enforcement agencies remained of the pressing issues. Among the fundamental reasons, Belianin and Kosals (2015) highlight a tendency towards corrupt behaviour and a conflict of interests arising in the police environment. The authors provide the most common psychological traits inherent in teams of employees of the internal affairs bodies that increase the level of corruption risks (Belianin & Kosals, 2015, p. 3):

  1. The unfavourable state of the moral and psychological climate in the team. As a rule, gaps and shortcomings made by the leader in organising individual educational work in the team are used by corrupt officials in the implementation of their illegal actions. One of the most common mistakes made by managers leading to the indicated consequences is the low level of attention to assessing the positive results of the operational activities of their subordinates.
  2. Corporate ethics indicators among employees of internal affairs bodies. The actions themselves to create an ethical environment in the team, as a rule, are deliberate in nature and are aimed primarily at concealing committed illegal acts. Inaction and failure to take timely measures by both managers and ordinary employees often lead to negative consequences.
  3. Low professional level and formal approach to official training. Carrying out checks on the results of revealed facts of corruption manifestations often shows the lack of systematic studies on the study and practical application of the norms of current legislation. As a rule, employees’ insufficient level of preparedness for the performance of immediate duties reduces the degree of anti-corruption protection of the unit.

The presence of any of these factors in the team leads to systemic errors and is fertile ground for committing offenses using the official position. The manifestations of these trends are based on the following frequently encountered motives for committing corruption offenses (Bleakley, 2020):

  • Selfish or other personal interest in committing illegal actions;
  • The desire to create the appearance of positive results of operational activities clearly in illegal ways;
  • Illegal rules and orders;
  • Low interest of employees in solving problems facing the internal affairs department (in this case, the use of official position solely as an instrument for the realisation of their personal interests is meant).

In addition, the modernisation of law enforcement agencies was favourable for criminal structures. Cheloukhine et al. (2015) state that in 2011, there were 230 cases of armed attacks on employees of internal affairs bodies and attempts to undermine official and personal vehicles (p. 128). As a result, 105 police officers died (Cheloukhine et al., 2015, p. 128).

The renaming of the militia to the police and firing of every fifth employee did not help corruption. Experts argue that attestation when transferring from one structure to the other one was a pure profanity. This was evidenced even by the speed with which it was carried out: 875 thousand people were recertified in a month and a half. The certification committee was guided exclusively by the recommendations of the immediate superior (Daly et al., 2018, p. 70). The authorities used this opportunity to get rid of real slobs, and from those who do not want to participate in general parallel earnings, bringing income to the authorities. Those employees who had an opinion, upheld the principles, became objectionable.

Moreover, there is almost no public control in the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Although it is spelled out in the law, it is not applied in practice. For some reason, unions are not included in this control. In this situation, according to different sources, unofficial income brings police officers an average of 50% to 250% of their salaries (Daly et al., 2018, p. 73). Acknowledgments take their place in the structure of unofficial income of the police although, according to the press service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, today any gift to an employee with the cost of more than 3 thousand roubles is considered a bribe (Daly et al., 2018, p. 76).

Good relations have been established between policemen and citizens, which manifested itself in non-monetary compensation that does not qualify as a bribe. There is an internal hierarchy of corruption, and the system itself is vicious.

The quality of law enforcement services to the population and the level of citizens’ trust in the police leave much to be desired. The crisis of the law enforcement system threatens to take pathological forms. Police experts talk about the inevitable loss of confidence in the employees of internal affairs bodies, an increase in the number of crimes, and, as a sequence, a decrease in the level of security in all areas. Today, this problem is widely covered in the media and is discussed at various levels. The reform of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia did not meet the expectations of society.

The main problem that worries the population is frighteningly simple: people demand anew to determine why they all need “militia/police.” A logival question arises: whose interests militia/police will serve, that is, either the police is intended only for the state, or for society? If the state interest predominates, the result will be a strict centralisation of the police structure, its isolation from local authorities. The dominance of the public principle will lead to closer interaction of the Ministry of Internal Affairs system with the population and local authorities, but at the same time will strengthen its decentralisation. These two opposing processes (centralisation and decentralisation), tearing apart the system of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, accompany it throughout its history.

All of the above allows concluding that the transformation of the militia into the police will not give rise to a qualitatively new institution but will become a measure to strengthen centralisation and bureaucratisation since systemic problems are in the bill not resolved. Meanwhile, crimes committed by employees of internal affairs bodies are common and pose an increased social danger since they not only violate the normal work of law enforcement agencies, undermine the authority of state authorities and limit citizens’ freedoms and legal interests.

Today Challenges

In recent decades, in the police departments, abuse of power, bribery, extortion and other crimes have become widespread. There has been a tendency for police to protect representatives of organised criminal groups by assisting them in implementing criminal intentions and evading responsibility, actually illegally cooperating with commercial structure, and betraying the interests of the service. It is noteworthy that in recent years, any mention of organised crime has been minimised (Belianin & Kosals, 2015). Meanwhile, corruption is unthinkable without the closest possible connection with organised crime. The criminogenic phenomena generated by corruption are organically interconnected, interdependent and practically not separated from organised crime.

In addition, various types of offenses bordering on crimes have become characteristic of almost all police services. For instance, rear police units began to lobby the interests of commercial structures when concluding business contracts for the supply of inventory items and construction work, which leads to unreasonable overstatement of budget expenditures and the supply of substandard goods (Cheloukhine, 2017). Cheloukhine (2017) remarks that in the public security police, there are abuses related to servicing legal entities and individuals, requisitions in the exercise of control over their activities, as well as in the issuance of permits, licenses, registration documents or passports.

Experts note that the reform of the police department had to start with the fight against corruption. Among the priority measures is the intensification of work on the identification, suppression of corruption and the investigation of criminal cases of corruption-related crimes. In addition, the situation of a protracted economic crisis with the accompanying increase in unemployment, inflation, lower incomes, and increased protest sentiments is a significant challenge to the public safety system and the work of the police. In this case, negative trends may again prevail in the public assessment of police activity, both as a result of a deterioration in the criminal situation and as a result of a decrease in social well-being.

After the infamous case of journalist Golunov in 2020, the Levada Centre found out that tossing up drugs by police and falsifying cases against objectionable people was a common practice in today’s Russia. Semukhina and Reynolds (2017) provide the results of the survey: 55% of respondents believe that events related to the journalist’s case will not have serious consequences for the work of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (pp. 163-164). Over several years, the percentage has grown significantly, which indicates public concern.

Basically, the same police officers, with their positive and negative qualities, were transferred to the police service. Meanwhile, as world experience shows, a complete rejection of the “stick” system as a management tool in large police units is practically impossible. The alternative is only a complete rejection of centralised administration, municipal subordination of police units. The disadvantages of this system are also universal and cannot be eliminated totally (Kosals & Maksimova, 2015). These negative effects have a cumulative effect (accumulate over time), are not eliminated by the police leadership and require mechanisms for external control of police activities to limit and no admission of development.

Comparison of Reforms in Other Countries: A Description of Reforms Nature

Background for Comparison

As it was mentioned in the Introduction chapter, the states were chosen to compare two CIS countries with one of the world leading countries of developed democracy. The reforms seem to have similar aims; however, despite directions and instruments of reform in Russia and Georgia, the results appear distinctive, which can serve as a proof for the claim about significant influence of historical and institutional practices on systemic corruption in the country. However, while Georgia chose Western type of development, Russia, as a super power, adheres to its specific path with evident Slavic identity and persistence in traditions. It is of great scholarly and practical interest to compare Slavic super power, developing country of Western inclinations and the state of developed democracy and public wealth.

Georgia Reform

After the “rose revolution” that brought President Mikhail Saakashvili to power, the new leaders immediately embarked on a reform of the Georgian police, a department that had been considered the most corrupt for many years. Nevertheless, according to opinion polls, today about 80% of residents trust the police in Georgia, while before the reform this figure did not exceed 10% (Strategic Studies Institute & Marat, 2019, p. 7). In contrast to the Russian reform of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Georgians did not limit themselves to renaming the police to the police but made deep and systemic changes.

Changes began in 2004; within two years, 75 thousand of the 85 thousand employees of the department were fired (Barros, 2014, p. 24). The traffic police were disbanded, and the salary of employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs increased significantly. Police reform in Georgia was recognised as the most successful in the entire post-Soviet space (Barros, 2014, p. 28). The effectiveness of the police increased dramatically, and the crime rate dropped substantially. Once considered one of the most corrupt structures in Georgia, it has become a role model for most post-Soviet countries. In addition, innovative technologies were introduced, including smart cameras (Caron, 2019). As a result, the total staffing of the department was reduced to 26 thousand people.

Australia Reform

Australian law enforcement agencies represent an individual group of government agencies authorised to carry out activities to protect law and order. Police officers, sheriffs and bailiffs operate under the control of the state, or of state or territory administration bodies. As a remark, the countries least affected by corruption, according to the indicated rating, are individual countries of the Asia-Pacific region, which show impressive results in the field of anti-corruption (Diamond, 2015). This is primarily due to the improvement of the economy as a whole, the reform of public service and the change in approaches to the formation of the integrity of the state system. In particular, Diamond (2015) mentions the main provisions of the criminal policy in the field of anti-corruption in Australia:

Adequate anti-corruption legal framework. Australia ratified the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention and the UN Convention against Corruption in October 1999 and December 2005, respectively. Australia became a member of the FATF in 1990 and PNG in 1997 (Diamond, 2015). The Australian legal system is based on English common law, however, analysing the current legislation, which as a whole constitutes the basis for the organisation and functioning of the public service or is aimed only at combating corruption, it should be noted that regulatory acts demonstrate a certain level of codification, which is more characteristic for the continental system of law.

A striking example of this trend is the adoption in 1995 of the Australian Penal Code. Over the following years, significant efforts were made to standardise criminal laws in all nine states and territories of Australia. This process has not yet been completed, but there are already changes in many areas of criminal law, including the issue of criminalising corruption offenses. When speaking about anti-corruption legislation, first of all, one should mention the Public Service Act 1999 that aims to regulate the activities of the public service (The Australian Public Service, or APS), as well as the National Anti-Corruption Plan (Diamond, 2015).

The peculiarity of the criminal policy of Australia is its multi-level and multi-layered nature, which is associated with the territorial structure of the country and the distribution of powers to combat corruption at two levels – state and territory. They differ but complement each other with the distinctive coverage of the corruption situation of various bodies and within the framework of different powers. At first glance, such irregularity might seem to be the impetus for gaps and conflicts in the fight against corruption, but Australian successful experience in this area shows the opposite situation – the decentralisation of powers has led to the creation of a new type of government.

An impressive institutional framework for countering corruption. At the federal level, one can note the significant role of commissions and bodies specially created under the federal government of Australia and in the regions, whose activities are aimed both at organising public administration and the public service system as a whole, and directly at combating corruption.

Among them, the Australian Public Service Commission, the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity, the Independent Commission Against Corruption, and the Anti-Corruption Commission (Corruption and Crime Commission), Attorney-General’s Department Foreign Bribery. According to experts, for example, Transparency International, the presence of a large number of institutions involved in the fight against corruption indicates an awareness of the danger posed by corruption at all levels of government, as well as a large amount of resources allocated to solve this problem (Cooper, 2012; Morton & Lobez, 2014).


Police Reform in Georgia

Confidence in police

The police are the state institution that invariably enjoy the high confidence of the Georgian population from year to year. Thus, according to the latest sociological study of the US National Democratic Institute (NDI), 48% of the country’s population positively assesses the activities of the police. This is 7% more than in 2018 (Strategic Studies Institute & Marat, 2019, p. 9).

The main structural divisions of the Ministry of Internal Affairs were the patrol service and the criminal police. Patrol crews continuously ply along specially designed routes (at night without fail with flashing lights on) and respond not only to reports of crimes but also to any emergency situations. All cars are equipped with cameras and equipment that record the conversations and actions of police officers. It is allowed to detain and interrogate citizens only in the sector that falls into the video equipment review.

Police HR issues

New police personnel were recruited through an open competition, and those participants were excluded who had already had experience in law enforcement agencies. During the recruiting campaign, applicants passed psychological tests developed according to Western standards, which made it possible to increase the average intellectual level of police officers and weed out individuals with an unstable or aggressive psyche. Permanent screening among active employees occured with the help of the General Inspectorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. This special unit organised the “setup” – situations that provoke police officers to commit an offense, for instance, receiving bribes or deviating from job descriptions (Caron, 2019, p. 194). In total, in 2003-2010, 1,064 police officers were prosecuted for various crimes (Taylor, 2014, p. 39).

According to the assurances of the country’s government, the most important area of the reform was the reprofiling of law enforcement agencies from a punitive mechanism to a service organisation (Strategic Studies Institute & Marat, 2019). The services provided by the registration authorities were created as the one-stop-shop model. In addition, they refused the procedures where no way has yet been devised to reduce the risks of corruption (for example, inspection).

The increase in the prestige of the police service was accompanied by a sharp increase in wages – 15-40 times. Today, the patrolman receives 3-5 times more than the average salary in Georgia ($200) (Barros, 2014). In addition to cash income, the police have a wide social package – medical insurance and insurance in case of death or injury, preferential pension and access to educational programs. According to the head of the department, a significant increase in the budget of the Ministry of Internal Affairs was not required for this (Barros, 2014, p. 59).

Crime rates changes

Meanwhile, in the course of the reform, absolute crime rates rose sharply. In 2006, the number of serious crimes against a person per 100 thousand people reached a maximum over the past 20 years –73.6; in 2003, this ratio was 42 (Barros, 2014, p. 60). Only in 2010 did it become better than the 1990 level – 23.1 against 24.5 (Barros, 2014, p. 60). The total number of recorded crimes in 2011 was 32,263, which is two times more than the figure for 2003 (Barros, 2014, p. 60). According to the authorities, this is partially due to a change in the system of recording and registering reports of crimes and increasing the effectiveness of the fight against the criminal sphere (Barros, 2014). The number of police appeals has grown by 15-20 times (Inc World Book, 2012, p. 12).

The roots of such advanced Georgian reforms that started in 2003 go back to the early 1990s when the blessed and richest of all the Soviet republics, Georgia suddenly turned into a poor and backward country. The economy of Georgia almost ceased to exist – in terms of the rate of decline in GDP, Georgia’s indicators was similar to those of Tajikistan, and by the mid-1990s, output fell to the level of 1960. Infrastructure, economic relations, traditional industries were destroyed. The situation was complicated by ongoing civil and ethnic wars, and the need to reorganise law enforcement agencies was acute.

Concerns of national identity

For Georgians, such a decline seemed an incredibly deep national disaster, much larger than the state of Russia in the early 1990s seemed to such for the average Russian. Georgian society was looking for a way out, which could be achieved only through the most radical and decisive reforms (Asmus, 2010; Inc World Book, 2012).

Initially, Eduard Shevardnadze was perceived as powerful leader, but, seeing the lack of result, Georgians soon became disappointed in him and appointed young and aggressive Mikheil Saakashvili as their new President. Here comes an important moment for understanding the essence and motivation of Georgian reforms. These reforms were not the initiative and brilliant idea of Saakashvili alone. However, carrying out over-the-top reforms was exactly what the Georgian people hired Mikheil Saakashvili for and what they entrusted to him.

Fundamental reforms were supposed to destroy the inefficient economic and social relations that fed the officials and, therefore, expect that the old state apparatus would destroy itself and the foundation of its well-being, was fundamentally impossible. Mikheil Saakashvili, in turn, took this into account and relied on young like-minded people whom he brought to power. At first, there were 10 of them, then about 50 – modern, European-minded, aged 25-35 years (the oldest is the Minister of the Interior, Vano Merabishvili, born in 1968) (Degterev & Kurylev, 2019). They were good managers united by the desire to build a new European-style Georgia. For comparison, in Russia, the reform of the Ministry of Internal Affairs was entrusted to the department itself, which categorically did not want to reform. At the same time, the entire leadership remained the same, and there was no external control over the reorganisation process.

Overall specifics of the reform results

The uniqueness of the political moment in Georgia was that the new people in power did not owe anything to any political and economic force in the country. This gave them a margin of time and the opportunity to apply tough measures to those who did not share their goals. They had the political will to put their ideas into practice. The essential goals of the Georgian reformers were a sharp decline in the role of bureaucracy, a total change of the old bureaucracy, reliance on young cadres, the denationalisation of the economy, its maximum liberalisation, virtually unlimited privatisation, a fierce struggle against all manifestations of corruption and some other strict rules.

The new government proceeded from the fact that people wanted justice and were tired of corruption, and the authorities wanted to show that they were stronger than thieves in law and could change the country. On June 24, 2004, at the initiative of Saakashvili, the parliament adopted the law On Organised Crime and Racket, unique in world practice, which officially recognised the terms “thief in law” and “thieves’ world” and provided for the possibility of arrest and conviction not for committing a specific crime but also for membership in such an association.

A thief in law who did not even committed a crime faced a period of three to eight years with the confiscation of property (Strategic Studies Institute & Marat, 2019). For convicted thieves in law, a special prison was built with a strict regime of detention in which only criminal authorities served their sentences (Strategic Studies Institute & Marat, 2019). Thus, the usual hierarchy was destroyed, which allowed collecting tribute from prisoners’ relatives.

The new government proceeded from the fact that systemic anti-corruption measures (punitive and preventive) should be integral parts of all ongoing reforms and used methods that have proved their effectiveness in other countries (Inc World Book, 2012):

  • The abolition of non-functioning institutions and excessive functions of state bodies;
  • The development of clear criteria for the functioning of the new body and the selection of personnel for it;
  • The careful selection of personnel, the organisation of their training and retraining;
  • Tight control over compliance with laws and regulations;
  • The inevitability of punishment for all for violation of laws and regulations;
  • The legalisation of practices that are already rooted and do not harm society;
  • The simplification of the relationship between the population and state bodies, minimisation of direct contacts with officials.

To set the right guidelines for society and inevitably punish everyone who commits acts contrary to the public interest, an incorruptible, professional and trained police were needed. They were supposed to be the pillar of the new government in the confrontation if tough reforms caused resistance. The reformers began with the creation of such a police force. President Saakashvili fired all the leaders of the power structures. Vano Merabishvili, never served in the police before, was appointed Minister of the Interior, like most of his deputies and department heads. He not only updated the Ministry of Internal Affairs radically but actually created it from scratch.

At the beginning of 2004, the police, the Ministry of State Security, the Department of Emergency Situations, the Oil Protection Department and the State Border Protection Department were merged in the new Ministry of Internal Affairs. Duplicate departments and departments have been eliminated to exclude bureaucracy. Now, one body is responsible for internal security – the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The combination of structures allows eliminating the parallel functions of departments, reducing the number of officials, and spending budget funds more rationally. Finally, departments have ceased to hide information from one another.

Today situation

Today, the work of the investigator in Georgia is carried out by the district inspectors, and detectives work on complex matters. The prosecutor’s office is also deprived of most of the powers to conduct an independent investigation, it only supports the prosecution in court.

Georgian reformers focused mainly on the American police system, although they reworked the experience of other countries creatively as well. In particular, the American experience was taken as a model for organising patrol service. In addition to monitoring the movement, today, the police patrol is obliged to respond to offenses on the street, domestic conflicts, fights, rape or loss of mobile phones to emergency 022 telephone number. Now, not only road accident participants call it but also witnesses; the police are called if a husband does not come home or a kitten cannot get off a tree. A patrol stops at a car standing on the side-lines to ask if help is needed, say, change a wheel, buy medicine and perform other useful civil activities (Inc World Book, 2012). The nearest crew is given a few minutes to arrive at the scene.

If a patrol is busy or in a remote area, another crew comes from a neighbouring district: for an excuse such as “this is not my section,” one may lose a job. Robbers also know this, and since the reform, robberies have decreased. Police patrols are always visible on the street, although, in Georgia, there are only 220 cars, which is four times fewer than before the reform and much fewer than in other countries (Inc World Book, 2012, p. 21). For comparison, Muscovites often complain that they have to wait a long time for the traffic police crews in road traffic accidents. In the capital of Russia, the number of traffic police only one quarter corresponds to the estimated number.

It does not matter where the patrol is serving – in Tbilisi or in the mountains since every crew has the same equipment. Each car is equipped with a tablet computer with a database of all Georgian cars, both local and those that have crossed the border. The database is constantly updated via the Internet (Marat, 2018). Once a policeman pays a fine to the system, every inspector will know about it until it is paid off (Marat, 2018). Patrol cars are equipped with speed meters and a licence plate scanner. When moving in the traffic, the patrol sees both a stolen car and tax evaders.

Today, 96% of all court trials processes in Georgia end with contracts with criminals (Inc World Book, 2012, p. 38). For instance, if a defendant faces a term of three to six years, he or she is offered to conclude an agreement to help law enforcement agencies, which, in turn, is an opportunity to reduce the term of imprisonment. Moreover, for particularly essential information, even release from custody is possible. If it is not possible to agree, the whole system works against an accused.

Australia Police Activity and Prevention of Corruption. The need for the thesis

Management and fight against corruption

The Australian government, to create a system of integrity and in countries with which partnerships have developed, allocates a significant amount of funds to the system of strengthening their management and the fight against corruption in general. Australia seeks to work bilaterally with partner governments to support their own anti-corruption efforts (Baker, 2017). Good governance is one of Australia’s five key strategic goals. According to the Commission on Combating Crime and Corruption of the Department of the Attorney General, Australia spends about one billion dollars each year for the above goals (Finnane, 1994, p. 35). At the same time, such an abundance of different structures can lead to duplication of functions, and therefore, it is necessary to establish a clearer interagency interaction in order to prevent fragmentation of efforts and ensure the existence of an effective system of checks and balances for the successful fight against corruption.

The principles of public service that form the system of integrity and constitute a code of conduct for APS employees (Diamond, 2015): the civil service is non-political; effective and fair governance and governance of the public service system; identification and adoption of reasonable measures to avoid any conflict of interests (real or apparent) in connection with the service in APS. APS employee behaviour that supports values, integrity and good reputation are supported.

However, one should note that efforts to combat corruption are directed not at the formation of ethical norms and principles in society that recognise unethical corrupt behaviour in society but at strengthening the integrity system. This is the fundamental difference between Australian anti-corruption policies and those of New Zealand where the key emphasis is on maintaining and strengthening a common culture. Thus, both the level of understanding of acceptable behaviour among politicians is discussed and the level of commitment to this behaviour.

Measures implemented

Measures applied regarding criminalisation should be noted. The establishment of liability for corrupt behaviour is present both in the framework of criminalisation in accordance with the Australian Criminal Code, which sets forth the elements of corruption offenses at the federal level in § 141 (bribery), § 142 (granting advantages), § 143 (abuse of power), and within the framework of “positive” legislation where the Law on Public Service 1999 plays a key role with the following provisions (Diamond, 2015, p. 62):

  • Provision regarding the protection of whistle-blowers. Pursuant to the Public Service Act 1999, a person must not be harassed or discriminated against because an APS employee has reported a violation (or alleged violation) of the rules of the Code of Conduct for APS employees.
  • A prohibition on patronage and favouritism. A person exercising powers in accordance with this Law or the rules in connection with the involvement of APS employees or in relation to APS employees should exercise their functions without patronage and favouritism;

One should note Australian legislators’ and law enforcement authorities’ perception of the very nature of the phenomenon of corruption. In particular, for a long time (from the 1990s to the beginning of the 2000s), the point of view was that corruption was a form of fraud, which eroded the attention to certain forms and methods of corrupt behaviour itself and imposed certain working methods (Morton & Lobez, 2014).

Particular attention is paid to combating corruption in the law enforcement system. Law enforcement corruption undermines the effectiveness of measures taken to protect the Australian economy, businesses and individuals from the threat of the spread of organised crime. The work of law enforcement agencies necessarily implies participating in activities that are associated with a high risk of corruption, since law enforcement officers deal directly with criminals; seizing and having firearms and drugs in circulation; having access to information sources in law enforcement agencies.

In addition, there are close ties among law enforcement officials, which can lead to the emergence of a subculture of inappropriate loyalty and the loss of objectivity, which, in turn, may stimulate to a tendency to hide offenses. The Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity, the Australian Crime Commission and the Australian Federal Police are the main regulatory boards. The risks of integrity of each institution are identified and strategies are developed to mitigate the identified threats of corruption, which reduces this phenomenon in the law enforcement sphere.

Institutional arrangement

Australia has a specially created Corruption and Crime Commission, and its main areas of work are, on the one hand, providing assistance to state bodies in order to prevent, detecting and addressing corruption misconduct, and on the other hand, suppressing and reducing the spread of organised crime.

In addition, politically independent media, civic initiative, state guarantees of security to persons assisting law enforcement agencies are also additional factors in reducing corruption in the country. Of greatest importance for the effectiveness of anti-corruption measures in the Scandinavian model is the maximum possible openness in the decision-making process by the administrative apparatus, and the minimum state intervention in the economy. The reduction of corruption in this context directly depends on the limited opportunities for officials to influence the economic sector: the state as an institution provides only a favourable economic climate and does not put pressure on the business environment through various administrative mechanisms.

Having analysed the main provisions of Australia’s criminal policy in the field of combating corruption, we consider it interesting to dwell on the recommendations developed for this country by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development together with the Asian Development Bank. As part of these recommendations, the 2010 study carried out extensive work on the assessment and analysis of the criminalisation of bribery, which is the core of corruption, in the countries of Asia and the Pacific, and identified mechanisms and practices for combating bribery in 28 countries in the Asia-Pacific region (Diamond, 2015).

In particular, in accordance with the results of the research, there is a need to expand the law enforcement practice of attracting a bribe for extortion or receiving a bribe through an intermediary. There is also work on a more precise definition of a bribe depending on its size, results, the perception of local customs, tolerance on the part of local authorities and the status of a bribe taker. Responsibility for bribing foreign government officials in Australia meets many aspects of international standards (Wood, 2009). Nevertheless, more attention should be paid to the sphere of protection against small payments for assistance to monitor how the relevant practice is developing (Diamond, 2015). Corporate Responsibility for Bribery in the Australian Criminal Code is an innovative approach to corporate responsibility, although it is not widely utilised to prosecute legal entities for intentional criminal behaviour.

Australia has the ability to apply a variety of investigative actions in cases of bribery, ranging from requests for documents and information to special investigative methods such as covert surveillance and undercover operations. To further improve this scheme, Australia could consider resolving the following issues: the consideration of the possibility of obtaining information from tax authorities, including documents about taxpayers with those that are not government officials, as well as the application of tax legislation and the interception of telecommunications in case of bribery foreign officials.

Overall criminal policy

Thus, based on the analysed provisions of Australia’s criminal policy in the field of combating corruption and the highly authoritative recommendations for improvement developed for it, we note that the country’s approaches to the fight against corruption can be recognised as established, effective and needing only minor adjustment, primarily related to current trends. The methods of bribery and other corruption-related offenses are characterised by constant modification, the expansion of the scope of action, which must be considered in legislative and law enforcement practice, without plunging into a quagmire of complacency.

For instance, Philip Moss draws attention to the constant readiness for new challenges and threats, noting that “corruption is a widespread and insidious problem, adapting to the use of new and changing conditions… the fight against corruption requires constant review” (Moss as cited in Diamond, 2015, p. 43). He also emphasises that the systems of integrity, the foundations of the organisation of public administration should, on the one hand, be dynamic and flexible, and on the other hand, be built on the basis of partnerships between bodies combating corruption and the growth of organised crime, including in the police (Moss as cited in Diamond, 2015).

The approaches demonstrated by the Australian criminal policy are useful for studying in Russia since they show real experience in building a coherent, stable, developing anti-corruption system implemented both in the public administration sector and in the business community. In particular, one should note the reasonable and optimal ratio existing in the countries of the Asia-Pacific region among the number of prohibitions existing in the field of state structure and the procedure for the activities of public servants. In addition, public regulation is stimulated, which aims to trace a number of aspects of the interaction of people prone to committing a corruption offense by civil society entities and institutions (Miller, 2014).

The overregulation of some public servants’ activities of observed in Russia complicates the order of activities of a public servant oneself by compelling him or her to observe multiple imperatives and creating tension. However, revealing the experience of foreign countries, it is necessary, first of all, to evaluate what measures are taken to adapt them to Russian conditions or to develop unique mechanism by using the experience of other states as a background.

Negative implications of corruption

Corruption entails severe consequences not only for the performance of the police work but also for other sectors and departments involved in interaction with the public. Firstly, this is manifested in the economic sphere: the shadow economy expands, which leads to a decrease in tax revenues and budget cuts; competitive mechanisms of the market are violated because the only winner is not the one who is competitive but the one who is able to get advantages for bribes. Secondly, organised crime is strengthened due to corruption. Thirdly, the trust of citizens in power decreases, its alienation from society grows and people become disillusioned with the values of democracy. Most importantly, the country’s prestige falls in the international arena, and the risk of its economic and political isolation increases. In this regard, the development and implementation of a unified anti-corruption policy in the police service system is an urgent need to address by responsible bodies.

Corruption in the police leads to degradation and discredit of their service itself. This phenomenon creates numerous problems in ensuring law and order – not responding to the facts of committing offenses, deliberately delaying the verification of reports of crimes, prejudices against the accusatory bias against any citizens, red tape in the investigation of crimes, the violation of people’s rights and legitimate interests and other gaps. Corruption in the police impedes the entry of foreign countries into the system of investment and stimulating domestic capital outflow abroad. Moreover, obviously, corruption creates a favourable environment for manifestations of terrorism and extremism by stimulating fraud and creating obstacles for honest work.

Interestingly, as a result of different studies, including surveys, questionnaires, interviews and statistical analysis of registered crime and analysis of its latent part, we can prove that, among all law enforcement agencies, the police are most susceptible to corruption. Among the corruption crimes committed by police officers, the most common are the abuse of power and bribery (receiving and giving a bribe, to a much lesser extent – mediation in bribery) (Semukhina & Reynolds, 2013, p. 60).

Generalised criminological portrait of the personality of a police officer committing corruption crimes is provided by different researchers (Semukhina & Reynolds, 2013; Galeotti, 2012). This is the overwhelming majority (2/3) of males, aged 21 to 35 years, with a higher and incomplete higher education (as a rule, legal, pedagogical and technical education). Most often, they are married and are characterised by selfish motives of behaviour (Galeotti, 2012).

Additional features of the criminological portrait are an increase in the intensity of corrupt activities as career length increases and the prevailing motive for personal enrichment and improvement of one’s own financial situation. Specialists rightly note that the reform of the internal affairs bodies needed to start with the fight against corruption (Vanucci, 2015). Among the priority measures, there is the intensification of work on the identification, suppression of corruption and the investigation of criminal cases of corruption-related crimes.

The systemic nature of a corrupt state is created by relevant, that is, system-forming sources. They are as follows:

  1. A patron-client (principal-agent) hierarchy of public authority that closes this authority to a narrow circle of proxies and counteracts the functioning of the legal institutional system;
  2. The closed nature of the power system reducing its dynamics and preventing its updating by modern methods;
  3. The absence of the rule of law and independent justice, which turns the fight against corruption into a means of an intra-elite struggle for power and enrichment, redistribution of spheres of influence, resources and income. In accordance with these peculiarities, there is a logical conclusion that the fight against corruption is a deviation for a corrupt state that amounts to punishing those who do not have the right to corrupt behaviour or exceed the unofficial measure of bribery (Chayes, 2016).

Among the proposed anti-corruption measures in developing and transforming countries, most authors note the strengthening of democratic control over the police and the need to tighten the punishment for corruption (Vanucci, 2015; Chayes, 2016). The inevitability and clarity of punishment are to be demonstrated, discussed and enforced. The primary way to reduce the level of police corruption in developing and transforming countries is to establish democratic control of society over the police through the application of the institutional approach, that is, with core focusing on creating the effective institutions of state and civil society. In those countries where there is such control, social norms are of anti-corruption character, mass system corruption is nullifying, and, for the most part, its manifestations are individual and isolated.


The analysis has shown that corruption in the police in all the countries under consideration and comparison have evidently negative effects manifested in society. It creates a favourable environment for of terrorism and extremism and prevents open and honest work of many sectors. At the same time, orientation towards new management, which takes important aspects from corporate practices, in particular, in HR sphere and building engagement, is a potentially efficient measure to overcome this negative phenomenon. The successful experience of Georgia and Australia shows that the reform of the police department is to start with combatting corruption. This experience should be considered by Russian leaders after unsuccessful Medvedev’s reform of 2011. Relevant activities are needed to transform the system of governing the police at the national level for the Russian Federation to fight against systemic corruption in the police.

Conclusion. Overall Implications and Recommendations

Systemic Nature of Corruption

As the research has shown, in developing and transforming countries, the main reason for the development of illegal economic activities of the police is the lack of public control of this institution. the effects of organised crime and political corruption are crucial factors that need to be taken into account. Defects in training, education, hiring, as well as the lack of modern equipment also contribute to higher levels of corruption.

In all countries, there is the lack of social motivation, and mutual responsibility among the police reinforce corruption. This phenomenon in the public sector, and particularly in law enforcement, is an indicator of poor governance at the national level. Governance, in this case, is defined as a set of traditions and institutions by which power is exercised in a particular country, including the process of selecting, monitoring and replacing governments, as well as the ability of the authorities to formulate properly and implement efficient policies. It also includes the degree of respect for citizens and the state to those institutions that regulate economic and social interactions between them (Kosals & Maksimova, 2015).

Corruption in the public sector flourishes where laws exist for individuals but not all citizens and where enforcement is often utilised as a means of pursuing private interests rather than protecting public ones. One of the common signs of the violation of the rule of law in countries with a high level of corruption is the police that violate laws and do not enforce them. As an example, unscrupulous officers stop drivers for the fictitious violations of the rules of the road traffic to extort bribes. The analysis has shown that the considered 2011 police reform in Russia did not lead to success due to the systemic and historical nature of corruption in Russian society, which is not observed in Australia. While in Georgia the level of overall corruption was rather high and comparable with the one in Russia, appropriate leaders chose the right way of radical and well thought-out planned changes based on the best Western practices to introduce in the local legislation and promote among relevant bodies.

At the same time, in Russia, police officers have felt impunity and acted according to the post-Soviet methodology that was formed in 1990s and, consequently, is outdated today. This was facilitated by the increase in crime after the collapse of the USSR, schemes for earning dubious legality, and people’s fear of the internal affairs bodies due to their enormous influence on the further fate of these same people. The independence of the judiciary, the foundation of the rule of law, is also generally limited in countries with high levels of corruption, which is also observed in Russia and is an objective constraint (Kosals & Maksimova, 2015).

As a result, as most researchers acknowledge, corruption in modern Russia has become a systemic factor that has a negative impact on the progressive development of society and poses a real threat to the functioning of public authority, the rule of law, democracy and human rights and social justice (Taylor, 2014). By agreeing with this, we need to clarify that corruption has become a systemic factor in general in the modern world. Moreover, corruption is an inevitable and constant risk factor for the development of the management system in any society, regardless of civilisational, socio-economic, political and ideological characteristics of a particular environment.

Historical and legal studies show that corruption is inherent in all types of the political organisation of Russian society. The Russian perception of corruption is characterised by dualism, simultaneous condemnation and tolerance for its manifestations. The local authorities and other interested parties try to explain this ambiguity by the centuries-old tradition of “feeding,” when a tolerant attitude towards receiving bribes for committing lawful actions (“bribery”) and the condemnation of “covetousness” has developed, i.e., receiving illegal funds for illegal actions.

It is believed that this feature has deeply penetrated the national mentality and is partially preserved to this day, although several centuries have passed since then, and the experience of Georgia is a vivid example. During the perestroika period, the slogan of fighting corruption was one of the main ones, but in the 1990s, this phenomenon multiplied its scale, acquired a new quality and penetrating the government and business.

The methodologically significant conclusion of the study is the conclusion that the problem of corruption in the police is falsely posed as a phenomenon incompatible with Russian statehood. It is necessary to change the social ontology of Russian society itself, its type and structure in which the power-management classes receive status (political and administrative) rents, as opposed to the survival of the rest of the population left alone with their economic and life problems without a chance for a fair settlement of their issues. Attempts by these social strata to identify this rent as corruption cause a defensive reaction of the estate-rent and corruption-generating state, its ruling class.

This reaction, as the capabilities of normal controls are exhausted, becomes more and more aggressive; as a result, the authorities equate any criticism of the situation with extremism and terrorism and impose significant sanctions on those who intend to destroy the established foundations. As the experience of domestic and world history shows, creating an atmosphere of a “besieged fortress” and rallying against an external threat is an effective way to maintain the existing order and avoid any crucial changes.

Given the high latency of corruption offenses, it is not possible to talk about their exact number. The following can be singled out as some reasons for the secrecy of these offenses: employees have special knowledge of a criminal procedure, criminalistics nature, which allows those officials who adhere to a corrupt behaviour model to remain in the shadow. At the same time, corruption manifestations in the system of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia stem from a state of discipline and legality. Its strengthening should be considered a fundamental factor in eradicating corruption, increasing the efficiency of managing the system of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia, and ensuring the effectiveness of its activities. Otherwise, no significant changes will occur, and the government will continue discussing the phenomenon of corruption in its historical rather than criminal context.

Latency of Corruption and Methods to Oppose

Another reason for the latency of these offenses is the deformation of the thinking of citizens. Many people who do not want to contact with employees in accordance with the rules of law and do not believe in the possibility of applying penalties to the latter do not report the facts of violations to the prosecutor’s office, internal security units of the internal affairs bodies and other responsible boards. Thus, a significant role in the fight against corruption is played not only by raising the anti-corruption culture of employees by increasing the credibility of internal affairs bodies in society but also by citizens’ participation in this process.

This measure is a potentially efficient mechanism of eradicating the stereotypes of corruption in the collective minds of Russians regarding corruption in government bodies (including the system of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia) and eliminating the established tolerance for corruption.

For the Russia police, corruption opportunities arise from the specifics of their role, which suggests that they decide whether to apply the law or not and how to do it in a particular case. Therefore, they can extract rents from the sale or transfer of these rights, and laws that distort the functioning of the market lead to an increase in potential payments aimed at corrupt police officers (Marche, 2009). Such an analysis allows understanding the conditions that contribute to the emergence of corruption. For instance, in the United States the highest level of corruption is observed in the decentralised groups of large police departments.

A small drug control group in a big city, operating under conditions of relative anonymity and the lack of supervision in a situation of great corruption opportunities, will be a risk group in which violations of their duties are likely to occur (Taylor, 2014). Therefore, the bigger the unit is, the more attention should be paid to the activities of its officers and their work under the existing legislation.

It seems appropriate to consider corruption in the Russian Federation from the point of view of developing a set of legal policy measures aimed at combating this negative phenomenon. There are many gaps and inaccuracies in the modern Russian legislation, which allow corrupt officials to not only evade responsibility but also act with impunity under the guise of those structures that are directly called upon to fight corruption.

A similar example is the fact that two policemen were convicted in the Sverdlovsk region for committing crimes under paragraphs “A”, “b”, “c” of Part 5 of Art. 290 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. These paragraphs correspond to such violation as the large-scale extortion of a bribe committed by a group of persons by prior conspiracy. In addition, part 3 of article 30, part 4 and article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation were violated (attempted fraud on a large scale committed by a person using his official position). These cases prove that the lack of control over corruption is manifested in severe cases of police brutality that is unacceptable in a democratic society.

According to the investigation of the aforementioned case, the crimes were committed by intruders from November 2011 to March 2012. Attackers received bribes monthly from two individual entrepreneurs who were owners of massage parlours in which erotic massage services were provided. Police received money from businessmen for the general protection of their entrepreneurial activity and for not bringing them to criminal responsibility for organising prostitution (Taylor, 2014). This example is illustrative and demonstrates how corrupt the police can be if there is no appropriate control over the work of officers and their interaction with individuals or legal entities.

When taking into account the requirements of President of the Russian Federation formulated in the process of the reform under consideration, at present, not only the leadership of state bodies but also the academic community pays particular attention to the fight against corruption (including in law enforcement bodies). In addition, the analysis of the reasons and conditions conducive to its occurrence is conducted, and the development of measures to curb any corruption actions by officials is reviewed to find out the main prerequisites. As a result of measures taken to combat corruption, many problems and difficulties are identified.

The primary concern is that the latency of corruption in official crimes is high. Firstly, it is challenging to prove the very fact of receiving or giving a bribe. Secondly, those officials who are involved in receiving a bribe (especially on a large scale) or who have committed other corruption crimes try to avoid responsibility. They use a range of means to influence the operational-tactical and investigative situation and persons conducting identification, disclosure and investigation through the use of the authority of senior officials.

Thirdly, according to the existing data, the identification of corruption crimes among law enforcement officials is difficult because the subjects of such crimes know the methods and tactics of conducting operational-search activities and the ways of securing the information received as evidence. As a result, they use sophisticated methods of conspiracy to avoid responsibility. Therefore, the task of identifying corruption in the police is complicated by a complex system of inter-professional relationships among officers and their leadership.

To achieve positive changes on the issue of combating corruption, a comprehensive system of measures to prevent it is necessary, the organisation of state and public control based on the goal so that corruption could be not only dangerous and psychologically uncomfortable for its subjects but also economically disadvantageous. For instance, one can cite the example of Australia where a high social status of public servants is determined by competitive salaries, decent retirement benefits, free insurance and a number of other benefits for employees and their families, which makes participation in corruption activities extremely unprofitable. Thus, the fight against corruption is primarily associated with increasing the attractiveness of state and municipal services in general rather than preventing the manifestations of this illegal phenomenon locally in individual departments.

This also applies to the creation of an effective system of social guarantees and benefits for state and municipal employees. It seems appropriate, following the example of Georgia, to amend the criminal law, in particular, to remove lenient forms of punishment from the sanctions of anti-corruption criminal law norms and agree with the position of a number of scholars proposing to tighten the lower limit of sanctions for corruption crimes. For instance, it is advisable to provide for a sanction in the form of life imprisonment and confiscation of property in the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation for the participation of an official in organising drug trafficking, selling weapons and assisting in the illegal withdrawal of capital abroad in the amount of over thirty million roubles.

From our point of view, it is necessary to clarify criminal sanctions for mediation in bribery. Responsible parties need to work on specific legislation and create conditions under which citizens claiming extortion of a bribe are not afraid of the consequences of such statements and know that the guilty will be punished and no official position will save from inevitable and fair criminal sentence. Therefore, joint participation of the public and authorities is essential to stop corruption in the police.

However, all the aforementioned measures are powerless without the formation of an anti-corruption worldview among Russian citizens. In this regard, it is advisable to involve the media in the formation of an anti-corruption worldview and popularise anti-corruption activities. The indices of the level of corruption may be developed and published by the media. This will allow comparing regions, industries, large enterprises, decisions of government bodies and the activities of their specific representatives to introduce standards for journalistic investigation and combat the illegal phenomenon in question.

Since systemic corruption is primarily a group phenomenon, it is essential to fight with the collectivistic nature of corruption first of all. Moreover, this is a hierarchically organised subject, which also should be taken into account. Secondly, as Chayes (2016) state, “anti-corruption measures must cease to look exceptional” ‑ they must acquire an ordinary, routine character (p. 11). The punishment for corruption will be more objective and fair if it is routine and precedential. Thus, the more cases of corruption are identified, the more chances are for the elimination of this dangerous phenomenon.

Today, the authorities need to work to create all the relevant conditions for the formation and functioning of a modern professional police force that meets the demands of civil society. It is now important to implement different plans conceived in the key areas of the police, including constant interactions with civil society institutions. Therefore, judging by the background of the problems in questions, solving these issues requires taking the following steps:

  1. Improving the legal framework and effective law enforcement practice in this area;
  2. Carrying out work to improve the professional qualifications of employees, eradicate systemic corruption, which is directly related to integration into organised crime, expand public participation in personnel policy (taking into account the opinions of the population);
  3. Increasing the accessibility of the police to the population;
  4. Improving the criteria for evaluating the activities of the police and establishing order in the registration and accounting of crimes;
  5. Conducting a coordinated policy of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia in the field of forming an objective assessment of police officers’ activity among the population and creating a positive image of its employees;
  6. Introducing modern technologies in the activities of the police to improve the practice of providing public services to civil society institutions, including in electronic forms and via individual communication channels, which can simplify the interaction process and, and the same, increase public trust in the police.

When summarising the key information obtained as a result of the research, one should note that the list of these measures is not exhaustive and comprehensive enough to cover all the existing gaps, and to some of interested parties, it may seem debatable. At the same time, only their implementation may contribute to achieving a sustainable, modern, efficient and authoritative police force in Russia, the further progressive development of the interaction between the police and civil society institutions, the growth of citizen trust in the police and some other relevant goals. The expansion and intensification of a close interaction at a new qualitative level by using modern approaches can help increase social activity and legal culture of citizens. Ultimately, all these objectives will ensure the successful implementation of immediate duties to ensure the constitutional rights and freedoms of people by the police, strengthen the compliance with law and order in the state and society, and exclude corruption.


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