Corruption – Overwhelming and Ubiquitous!
16 February, 2012

Corruption was rampant. It was almost officially allowed in Georgia. It was universal and ubiquitous. Any policeman would make money right in the street, grabbing bribes. Every crime had its respective pecuniary value. Professor Simon Maskharashvili has more.

GJ – Towards the end of the Shevardnadze rule in Georgia, social situation was somewhat improved, and the level of crime went considerably down. At least, there were no longer heard any bursts of submachine-gun fire in the streets. It was also obvious that the country’s economy was managed by the persons and clans who were in close relationships with the president. For instance, the ceaseless power outages became an unsolvable problem whereas the country had enough source of energy to be made a reasonable use of. It was becoming evident that all those energy problems used to be clearly and deliberately manmade. As it is well known, the functionality of any enterprise is directly dependent on efficient power supply. This being a reason, very many healthy economic ideas remained unfulfilled. Accordingly, the development of enterprise in Georgia and the issue of employment also remained unattended. As a result thousands of people abandoned then the motherland and fled to various countries around the world purely for survival purposes, including the intellectual part of the nation.  The consequence was a real catastrophe for a country with only four millions of population, more so because it had recently gone through severe wars and painful loss of territories. Why was it all happening?

S.M. – I completely concur with what you are saying, and your question sounds absolutely quintessential. Corruption was simply officially allowed in the county. Let us for example say what was doing a regular corrupt person in charge for power supply. He was selling the energy to those who was paying more and better. The electric power generated in Georgia was being sold abroad. Meanwhile the Georgian population was left permanently without power supply. Even the enterprises were supplied based on special schedule. Only those who managed to strike a deal with a power supplier would get electricity. Otherwise, you were doomed to be sitting in darkness.

GJ – In a word, the corruption was universal and overwhelming, wasn’t it?

S.M. – Yes, indeed! It was not the state who monitored the social relationships in the society. People were associating themselves in various social groups and were trying to build a system of social relationships in between themselves. Courts were also corrupt, and police too. The wages were flagrantly low, and even those peanuts were held behind schedule for months and years in almost all state-operated organizations.

GJ – This might be understandable – if the state budget was devoid of funds, how on earth the state employees could be given their earned wages?

S.M. – Yes, the treasury was empty, but also, the salaries were often artificially held back by the heads of agencies for various reasons. Any policeman would make money right in the street, grabbing bribes. Every crime had its respective pecuniary value. Police would distribute drugs themselves and later, they would apprehend the distributors and the user of selfsame drugs, thus creating a source of income accordingly.

GJ –What order or what decent state system could we be hoping for in the country where all of them, just all – police, court, customs, power-suppliers and state agency workers – were so corrupt?

S.M. – That’s why there necessitated the appearance of the third institution which assumed the role of a fair mediator – the phenomenon of the so called ‘legalized thieves’ by the analogy of the social paradigm of the bygone 1930’s which was created by ‘the great soviet leader’ Stalin to control the clandestine business and the hoodlum world. There used to be many Georgians among those ‘legalized thieves’.