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Bálint Magyar The Post-communist Mafia State as a Form of Criminal State I. If we want to understand the nature of corruption as a governance regime, we have to clearly distinguish between three evolutionary stages of corruption. The first evolutionary stage is the simplest—so-called day-to-day corruption. It is characterized by scattered, sporadic, face-to-face corrupt transactions involving players in the economy and of the public authority. The second evolutionary stage is when corruption ascends vertically to reach the higher layers of governance. These are not just occasional transactions —they show signs of being a regular practice. The cooperation of players becomes more complex not only on the side of corruption supply, but also on the side of corruption demand, namely that the corruption partners on the side of the economy are in many cases oligarchs or criminals of the organized underworld. (We need to distinguish between the abovementioned two groups: while criminal organizations carry out illegal “economic” activities supported by an illegitimate access, oligarchs, on the other hand, usually conduct lawful economic activities, but mostly with illegitimate access.) This evolutionary stage is known today as the realm of state capture, because we can speak about this phenomenon when only certain segments of the public authority are captured and not the governmental structure in its entirety. Within this evolutionary stage the political competition may still go on, political power transfer is still possible under constitutional circumstances , and the oligarchs still maintain their relative autonomy, as they are i6 Maffia II 00 book.indb 85 2016.12.07. 15:47 86 TWENTY-FIVE SIDES OF A POST-COMMUNIST MAFIA STATE not tied infinitely to certain political actors. Both sides can enter and leave the corruption transactions relatively freely. In organizational criminology, this stage is referred to as “state crime,” which can take the form of corporate-facilitated state crime or state-facilitated corporate crime, depending who is the dominant or initiating actor. In the case of the third evolutionary stage it is not appropriate to talk simply about “state crime” as the phenomenon that we see takes place in what is already a criminal state. It is not just that oligarchs or the organized underworld have captured the state—it has, instead, become a political enterprise. The organized upper world has captured the economy, including the oligarchs themselves. We can see this in some post-communist countries : e.g., Hungary within the EU, Montenegro in the Balkans, Russia, Azerbaijan, and some Central Asian countries that are former Soviet republics . This evolutionary stage is possible when two conditions are met: the monopolization of power by one political actor, accompanied by the systematic surrendering of the institutions of checks and balances. The second condition is the lack or practical nonexistence of private property during the regime changes and the extensive distrust as privatization happened in these countries. The emerging post-communist criminal states, where the governance bears the features of a criminal organization, can be described as postcommunist mafia states. It is nothing less than the privatized form of a parasite state. In this case, the central bodies of the state itself operate in concert as a criminal organization, as the organized upper world. Let us briefly summarize the basic features of the corrupt criminal state: 1. The concentration of political power and the accumulation of wealth by the adopted political family occur in unison. Public benefit becomes subordinated to private interests not occasionally but permanently, and in a manner that influences political decision making in a fundamentally determinant, systematic way. 2. The alternation and systematic replacement of the political elite takes place in parallel with that of the economic elite. These changes are not driven by the instruments of democracy and market economy. 3. With the legalized instruments of state monopoly of coercion, the mafia state coercively extracts private fortunes—sometimes indirectly through different forms of nationalization—to serve its own interests, and it redistributes this among clients of the adopted political family. i6 Maffia II 00 book.indb 86 2016.12.07. 15:47 87 The Post-communist Mafia State as a Form of Criminal State 4. The corruption of the organized criminal upper world is neither a matter of incidental—even sporadic—backdoor dealing, nor an occasional irregularity or deviance, but centrally directed and rationally transacted plunder, a centrally carried out collection of protection money. For in the organized criminal upper world, the concentration of power and the increase in wealth of the adopted...


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