Fighting corruption in Russia now is like treating a plague patient for hemorrhoids.
Leonid Volkov has formulated theses to justify this activity (below they are in quotation marks with my comments). However, these justifications do not seem convincing to me.
“1) Corruption motivates to produce more missiles and spend more missiles (and not vice versa)”.
In many cases this is not the case. For example, a certain amount of money is budgeted for missile production. Corrupt officials inflate the cost of production in order to put a kickback in their pockets. Missiles thus become more expensive and are produced less than they could have been for the allocated funds. In addition, the money for the development and production of missiles can be simply stolen by corrupt officials, as was the case with the well-publicized Armata tanks.
“2) Corruption is certainly the root cause of Putin’s war and its driving force”.
Strange conclusion. Why corruption and not, for example, the imperial ambitions of an inadequate dictator who totally misjudged the situation and his powers. The overwhelming majority of corrupt regimes do not see any wars. Conversely, corruption clearly did not drive many aggressors, including Hitler and Mussolini.
“3) The Putin state is fundamentally structured in such a way that it couldn’t help but start going to war with its neighbors at some point, and the roots of this phenomenon lie in corruption”.
See commentary on point 2.
“4) The audience for ACF investigations is in Russia; each new investigation nibbles away at Putin’s support base”.
The audiences of ACF investigations and Putin’s support base have long had little overlap. ACF and Navalny are stigmatized in the minds of Putin’s loyal audience as foreign agents and traitors. Neither the ultra-patriots nor the passive average citizen will believe the “enemy” emigres of the ACF. The base of support for Putin can be “plucked” by Prigozhin’s and Strelkov’s tantrums, but not by the Navalny team’s investigations. The ACF videos are now watched mostly by opposition and émigré audiences, who already understand everything about corruption and the regime.
So there is no benefit from the “fight against corruption”. However, I do not see any harm either. No investigations can stop corruption from dragging this terrible state down. The fact is that they do not create any real problems for the corrupt officials. Now it is a great honor for a Russian official to become a hero of the Navalny team’s investigation, if “enemies” try to discredit him, it means that he is serving the tsar and the fatherland correctly, worthy of promotion.
The situation has changed dramatically; it is high time to change the agenda.