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Bucharest
October 8, 2022
EDITORIAL

The heritage of recent past

Corruption was studied under all possible aspects. Its “benefits”, relative but functional under certain historical circumstances were not neglected either. Some people promoted a weak state, so that opportunities for corruption would be of lesser dimensions. Other people, on the contrary, promoted an intense anti-corruption rhetorics, precisely in the name of efficacity of a powerful state, whose mechanisms would be seriously affected otherwise. In any case, the corruption is a dark spot of any social organization, it is always present, even if its expansion may significantly vary from one case to another and from one period to another. Besides strictly political contexts, the cultural aspects are not at all negligible. The Italian Mafia, by example, connected not merely by illegal trafficking, but also by an extended octopus of corruption, is not merely a specific phenomenon of organized crime, but it also, it pretends it is fueled by an alternative social and political culture. We might say that the game includes a regional “conflict of civilisations, that requires the confrontation of two perspectives on life. A similar debate was held about the Romanian haidouks a few centuries ago: some people see them as heroes and patriots, others see them as burglars and agents of terror. Therefore, in each case, we must ask what is the prestige by which some people invest phenomenons such as corruption, despite of a highly negative public opinion. In the period that followed WWI immediately, in Romania, there were heated and endless discussions about the corruption that has prepared the great military disasters, as a result of which more than half of the country was occupied, by cynical affairs arranged at the expense of the life and welfare of many of our fellow countrymen.

In other words, some people followed their own plans of gaining wealth without caring about the terrible consequences of their actions. And it is merely a more revealing case regarding the awful implications of corruption. Let us think a little bit about the psychology of the corrupt person. Usually, we imagine him as a greedy person, who cannot ignore his own wishes and, therefore, uses illegal ways to fastly increase their welcome. They want to live a life of luxury and are willing to take advantage shamelessly by the advantage of their public position. Nonetheless, such image is simplistic and fails to take into account the physiology of power libido. Just like the corrupts mentioned above, that have many soldiers lives’ on their conscience, today’s corrupt politicians are also aware, on average, by the actual price of their accumulation of wealth. We might even say that this conscience is an aphrodisiac for the pleasure of power. Because their intimate pleasure are not money and goods, but the amoralism of the capacity to ignore the usual rules, laws, feelings. They feel, just like Nietzsche’s overman, that they are beyond good and evil.

Yet, corruption in today’s Romania also has certain precise historical roots. A recent Romanian film, “The Chosen One”, explores a topic that was intensely discussed especially during the 90s: how the Securitate was converted to the new Capitalist democracy.

The political conflict, asymmetric at that time, between a party that had inherited the massive influence network of the old regime and its highly disadvantaged competitors, but also the trauma caused by the fear to the persistence in the actions of an occult power prolonged discussions on this topic.

Although the press had exposed various concrete cases of ex-Securists that had ended up as prosperous businessmen, their association with the structures of the new regime remained at the level of mere speculations resembling conspiracy theories, never reaching the depth of a persuasive sociological analysis. Yet, besides the social conversion of a professional group that was highly influential once, it is worthy of interest to study the culture they left us as a legacy. Many Western analysts take into account, when trying to describe Vladimir Putin’s regime in Russia, his past as a KGB officer. His tactics, his way to conceive the dynamics of power, approaching conflicts, shortly, his “values” no not explain merely his behaviour as a leader but they also embody values shared by many Russians.

In Romania’s case, Securitate did not represent merely an efficient repression apparatus subordinated to a political clique, but also a prestigious social model for many people. It is a way to solve issues in a rigid society.

The situation has changed in the meantime, democratic mechanisms have been imported, yet, things are quite different in the case of culture that had generated these political forms in the West.

Thus, this culture inherited from the time of the Security is still highly attractive for many people. It is a phenomenon that was pretty clearly illustrated by the latest presidential elections. Much of the electoral campaign of the present Prime Minister was based on the assumption that such pattern of political arrogance is seductive if it is removed from the subtext of power and exhibited in the spotlight. It even worked partially although, in the end, the contrary reaction was stronger and, consequently, it made Ponta lose the elections. How many of the “big fish”, now caught in the nets of DNA, were also seduced by this type of human attitude beyond good and evil?

 

 

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