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Istituto per i Beni Culturali Emilia-Romagna

Memoria e Ricerca

Political ethics in post-communist Bulgaria: anti-corruption discourse in perspective

di Nad├Ęge Ragaru
in Memoria e Ricerca n.s. 32 (2009), p. 59

The purpose of this article is threefold. First, it aims to investigate the conditions under which questions of political ethics and corruption have been promoted to the agenda in post-socialist Bulgaria. A particular stress is here placed on the interactions between external pressures (international financial organizations, the European Union...) and domestic players (various NGOs, media and other advocacy networks). Second, the political uses of anti-corruption are analyzed. Far from contributing to a more transparent way of doing politics, since the end of the 1990s the denunciation of corrupt behaviour has indeed turned into one of the most powerful ploys used by ruling elites against their political opponents. Finally, attention is brought to the public receptions of calls for morality in politics. “Corruption” has not become a key word solely because of the widespread existence of corrupt practices in Bulgaria. The notion also gained currency as it became incorporated into private narratives of post-communism. To many average citizens, this terminology offered ways of depicting and denunciating growing social inequalities, the disruption of social ties as well as the increased monetarization of social status associated with the transition to market democracy.