The recent conversation between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has generated renewed interest in the fight against corruption in the former Soviet Republics (FSRs) and Moscow’s erstwhile allies, often referred to as post-Soviet states, in Europe.
Almost from their first days as independent nations, corruption has been a major problem for these countries. It has weakened their economic performance, legal systems and political legitimacy. It complicates the ability of the FSRs to participate in European institutions such as the European Union and NATO.
Equally important, corrupt practices have created an avenue for outsiders, particularly Russia, to undermine fragile institutions, blackmail leaders and influence political processes. In many ways, fighting corruption in the FSRs and Eastern Europe is as important to the security of NATO as strengthening their ability to resist overt military aggression.