Countering Transnational Kleptocracy: How Democracies can lead the way

This article was originally published in Power 3.0.

Reports of the prominent Russian investigative journalist Arkady Babchenko’s demise turned out to have been greatly exaggerated. His re-appearance at a press conference the day after he was reportedly gunned down in Kyiv in May should not distract from the alarming trend that made his staged killing so believable. Investigative journalists Pavel SheremetDaphne Caruana Galizia, and Jan Kuciak were all brutally murdered on European soil, for no plausible reason other than the fact that their journalism had penetrated—however shallowly—the veil of anonymity behind which authoritarian regimes, international criminals, and corrupt Western elites consort to enrich themselves with impunity.

Suppressing journalists and civil society activists is standard procedure for authoritarian regimes, but threats against those within democratic societies represent a new emboldenment of those who disregard the rule of law in pursuit of power and profit. It is the latest stage—though by no means the likely culmination—of a long-term trend in which, far from embracing democracy in the aftermath of the Cold War, authoritarian regimes were given free rein through globalization to exploit the global financial system by mingling illicit finance, corrupt practices, and geopolitical ambitions. As successful global financial centers require strong rule of law and are necessarily based in democracies, the resulting inward flow of corruption has had the effect of undermining and corroding the recipient countries’ own democratic, financial, and legal institutions.

Continue Reading: the full op-ed can be found here.

Nate Sibley is the program manager at the Hudson Institute’s Kleptocracy Initiative and co-author (with Ben Judah) of “Countering Russian Kleptocracy.”

This article was originally published in Power 3.0.