Fighting Corruption: the Slovenian Phenomenon

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2016-60-3-36-48

Y. Nisnevich, National Research University Higher School of Economics, 20, Myasnitskaya Str., Moscow, 101000, Russian Federation (

Abstract. Today, corruption remains a challenge for most post-socialist states. Unfortunately, this social pandemic was by and large inherited by these countries from the Soviet regime. A lot of representatives of that regime, who actually were the instigators of corrupt practices while governing a state, managed to keep their posts in power even after the regime change. In this way the representatives of the old regime facilitated further spread of corrupt practices in new governments. The research, conducted in cooperation with Professor Peter Rozic (USA), indicates an interesting phenomenon: lustration (in other words, the purge of government officials once affiliated with the Communist system) is indeed an effective mechanism to do away with corrupt legacy of a previous government. In the majority of post-socialist states (except for Albania and Bulgaria), where lustration was carried out in one form or another, we can observe a cleanup of the Soviet times instigators' corrupt practices in public authorities. Interestingly enough, nowadays, the corruption situation in these countries is considerably better than in those were lustration was not conducted. However, it is worth noting that lustration per se is not the panacea for corruption, but it does help to create a fertile ground and serves as a springboard for further anti-corruption measures and reforms. Yet what we see in Slovenia is, in fact, an obvious deviation from this pattern. Lustration was not carried out here. Nonetheless, the country is among the best anti-corruption performers and can be compared with Estonia, where lustration took place. Today, Estonia is ranked by Transparency International’s CPI as a top performer among all other post-Soviet and post-socialist states. We, therefore, decided to look deeper into Slovenian anti-corruption efforts made by the new democratic government after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and to understand the reasons underlying its success in this field. Our research findings indicate that the first factor, which sets this situation apart, was filtering out the government authorities that could bring corrupt relationships or practices of the old Soviet regime, and replacing them with representatives of the nationally-oriented elites. This kind of purge, supposedly complemented by the factor of a small territorial and demographic size, created the advantageous conditions for corruption to be contained right from the start before it would become widespread. The second factor was following the GRECO recommendations to take institutional and legal anti-corruption measures during the process of accession to the European Union. Another defining characteristic of Slovenia is a relatively high quality of the political and good governance principles implementation inherent to the polyarchic democracy, which allows for corruption to be dealt with and kept at low levels through constant civil checks and balances over decisions and actions of authorities. 

Keywords: Slovenia, corruption, purge of power, reorganization, anti-corruption measures, polyarchic democracy 

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For citation:
Nisnevich Y. Fighting Corruption: the Slovenian Phenomenon. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2016, vol. 60, no. 3, pp. 36-48.

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