The Russian Federation and European Union against Corruption: A Slight Misunderstanding?
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It was hoped that the Partnership for Modernisation would improve the troubled relationship between the Russian Federation and the European Union (EU), but it has fallen far short of expectations. Moreover, the disagreement between the two parties has been evident not only on such predictably conflictual topics as human rights but also in the areas where mutual understanding would have seemed likely to have been achieved. This article analyses one of these topics, the fight against corruption, as it is defined in the Russian discourse. It is argued that the Russian discourse on corruption exists at three levels, which do not overlap at all. The first level is the official definition of corruption; the second is ‘home corruption’, which is interpreted only as an economic problem and frequently understood as a part of the socio-economic system and the third level – that of political opposition, where the fight against corruption, although being the axial line for the articulation of the protest agenda, has nothing to do with the anti-corruption fight as such. As a result, the Russian and the EU discourses have little in common, which presents some problems for future cooperation.