Restricting kleptocracy, empowering civil society


Starting with a decade on the ground in Afghanistan, Carnegie Endowment Senior Fellow Sarah Chayes has experienced, developed policy towards, and researched some of the most corrupt countries on earth. At Falling Walls, she will explain why not only dogged investigation, but also network analysis skills are needed to truly understand and thus fight this problem – and why we should be applying such efforts to our own Western countries, not just the usual suspects.

Alexey Navalny offered Russia the choice between a brutal kleptocracy and the chance to develop an open, free society, notes one observer. The growing opposition against Navalny’s arrest has prompted Putin to respond to it, signaling that the unrest worries him, reports suggest.

Alexei Navalny. Credit: Wikimedia

“Navalny as a liberal opposition politician represents a European Russia between Saint Petersburg and Moscow. He has a symbolic significance in Russia, where there is no real opposition, due to his outspoken manner to bring out the country’s issues as well as governance problems,” says Esref Yalinkilicli, a Moscow-based Eurasia political analyst.

“That’s an important development for the Russians,” Yalinkilicli tells TRT World. In a country, where citizens suffer hugely from “nepotism, kleptocracy and corruption”, Navalny is able to succeed in pulling some attention from ordinary people, according to Yalinkilicli.

Navalny’s conviction has plunged Russia to a new nadir of lawlessness, the Economist adds. A kleptocracy and repressive regime cannot go into reverse and requires new fodder to keep itself in power. Navalny’s video of Putin’s palace, watched over seventy million times, has given us a glimpse of that world – a world where vulgarity and naked gluttony of gargantuan proportions are only matched by the vast apparatus erected to defend and shelter Russia’s kleptocracy against the citizen.

In the tumult of recent weeks, a major legislative milestone in the fight against kleptocracy has sneaked by almost unnoticed when the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA) was signed into law, writes the OCCRP’s Anne Marlowe.

Corrupt individuals and kleptocratic politicians continue to loot their nations’  wealth with impunity in many countries around the world. They undermine both their own national development and those of neighboring countries, RUSI adds.

A new project funded by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). will focus on empowering civil society actors and the media community to tackle illicit financial flows in Latin America and East Africa. Entitled ‘Restricting Kleptocracy: Strengthening Monitoring and Accountability in the First Mile’, the project will center on Latin America and East Africa with an emphasis on Panama City and Nairobi as regional hubs for financial crime. By building partnerships with investigative journalists and civil society, the project aims to equip them with the knowledge, connections and understanding to hold to account the state institutions who should be preventing the outflows of the proceeds of corruption.

Strengthening the capabilities of investigative journalists and civil society can contribute to addressing this challenge before the illicit funds disappear into the global financial system. In these regions, to a greater or lesser extent, both civil society and the media operate with the necessary freedom to hold to account those that benefit from illicit finance.

For more information contact: Anton Moiseienko, Research Fellow, Centre for Financial Crime and Security Studies (, or Maria Sofia Reiser, Research Analyst, Centre for Financial Crime and Security Studies (



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