By Stephen Shepherd, Marketing –
While recently watching a Harry Potter movie, I found myself noticing parallels between the fictional government of the series, the Ministry of Magic, and the modern-day government of Russia.
Elements of Corruption
In the Harry Potter books, we read about characters that represent the common, every day person with little to no voice in their government or the decisions it made. The Ministry of Magic, while under the control of the villainous Voldemort, follows a control model of governing, pursuing its selfish objectives and seeking to eliminate threats to its power through a state-controlled press that spreads propaganda to its ignorant employees and followers.
It kind of sounds like President Vladimir Putin’s governing style. In Russia, statistics indicate corruption consumes 44 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Said journalist Andrei Malgin, “In today’s Russia, anti-corruption activists, doctors and teachers are far more likely to find themselves facing criminal charges than government officials.
Dogging on Watchdogs
One example of Russian corruption is that used against Alexei Navalny, a former businessman that Malgin describes as a well-known, anti-corruption watchdog that targets senior officials. The targeted government officials, in an attempt to silence Navalny, instructed investigators to research his past business history in order to discredit him and find him guilty of corruption charges. It is upon this system that Putin relies.
“Pull out the corruption, and the whole thing would immediately collapse,” stated Malgin. “And this is because Putin’s main principle is ‘loyalty in exchange for corruption.” He believes Putin not just allows, but also actually promotes corruption by telling his follower to, “Do whatever you want so long as you are loyal to me.” Those that aren’t loyal are often accused of crimes or go missing.
This notion of corruption in exchange for loyalty sounds eerily like Lord Voldemort’s ideology, which demands unquestioning loyalty while turning a blind eye on the nefarious activities of his followers.
Harry Potter is a children’s book that we know has a happy ending. The future is darker for Russia, however, given the increasingly convoluted web of bribes, fraudulent payments and deceit across all levels of Russian leadership.
“The worst corruption is not among officials,” contested Kremlin Chief of Staff Sergei Ivanov while evading a question about high-level government corruption.
Even if there is an undeniably high concentration of corruption in the realm of business outside of politics, it is no excuse for Putin and his followers.