Strategic Corruption

Small Group Project 2024-25


Oksana Huss & Tena Prelec
Small Group Project 2024-25

The denunciation in US and EU foreign policy circles of the “weaponisation” of corruption by authoritarian countries like Russia and China, as well as the investigations surrounding the “Qatargate” scandal in the European Parliament, point to the emergence of “strategic corruption” as a new paradigm in international politics. Consequently, the political and security dimensions of transnational corruption are receiving growing attention in foreign policy and academic circles. Yet, it remains vague how exactly this newly recognised phenomenon can be distinguished from other forms of transnational corruption and how it links to the foreign policy strategies of authoritarian countries. Based on a broad working definition of strategic corruption as a form of corruption that nations weaponise to achieve their geostrategic goals, this project seeks to advance the conceptual debate. Conceived as a conversation-starter and leading to the strengthening and broadening of a network of scholars working on this topic, the planned workshop aims to combine conceptual and empirically oriented papers investigating the geostrategic dimension of corruption and resilience towards it. We aim to distinguish “strategic” from other forms of corruption, other forms of malign influence, and geopolitical competition; we will explore mechanisms of how strategic corruption works and how affected societies (such as Ukraine, the countries of the Western Balkans, Taiwan) are reacting to it; and investigate the different policy areas impacted by the related national security concerns. The workshop will gather international experts and will be convened by two early-mid career scholars. It has, as its main aim, the planning of a special issue in a prestigious academic journal (Journal of Public Integrity) and the fostering of an interdisciplinary network of early-career and senior researchers.

Contacting Fellows

If you would like to contact any of our Fellows to discuss their ISRF-funded work, please contact Dr Lars Cornelissen (Academic Editor) in the first instance, at [email protected].