Lawmaking by the people
DRAFT LAW OF UKRAINE ON DECRIMINALIZATION OF CORRUPTION
All one can hear on the TV these days is, ‘we’ve been fighting corruption for two years, but there are no changes whatsoever, same illegal schemes are used as before’; more and more frequently statements are made that things in fact have taken a turn for the worse.
But wait a minute – maybe one shouldn’t be fighting it? How about recognizing the centuries-old experience of domestic corruption as a valuable national asset?
This glorious tradition is rooted in olden times, which fact is attested to by the idiom ‘zalyshytysia z nosom’ (≈ ‘to leave with the bag you have brought’).
“In days of old, bribery was quite widespread in Rus. No petitioner could achieve a favorable decision in an institution or a court without an inducement, a gift. Certainly, those gifts were not referred to as a ‘bribe’. They were politely named ‘prynesennia’ or ‘nos’, a derivative from the word ‘nosyty’ [‘to carry’, ‘to bring in’]. If the administrator, judge, or secretary accepted the ‘nos’, one could be sure of having secured the sought-for decision.
If the official refused to accept the gift – and this could happen if he found it too small or if he has already accepted a donation from the adverse party – the petitioner had to carry the ‘nos’ back home. In such a case, no hope for success remained. Since then, the words ‘zalyshytysia z nosom’ mean to suffer defeat, to fail, to lose, to stop short of achieving anything.”
So, legal experts, let’s get down to work! Together we will draft a Law of Ukraine on Decriminalization of Corruption. The preamble will focus on the centuries-proven wonderful popular tradition of kumivstvo as the foundation of existential being, whereas the body of the Law will include provisions specifying the permissible bribe-givers, bribing situations, and upward bribe distribution sequences, as well as the maximum one-time and monthly amounts of ‘donations’ (expressed in minimum wages) that can be accepted by officials depending on their post, etc. The first proposal of this sort has already been voiced – by the Satirical Democratic Party of Ukraine: bribes exceeding 150,000 UAH must be made by non-cash transfer only (http://rus.newsru.ua/ukraine/30aug2013/novaparta.html).
Foremost corruptionists, holders of profitable positions of various levels don’t come to us from outer space; nor do they usually arrive from distant lands. Few of them are sent here by our ‘vicious enemies’ to undermine our economy and general wellbeing. An overwhelming majority of them are made of the flesh and blood of ordinary people. A number of eagles who have flown up to the skies from earthen floor now recall how in their childhood they could not even tell boots from slippers as they didn’t have either. At present, however, each one of them has not just fabulously improved his financial position; they have also taken under their tender wings a considerable part of the nation, represented by their wives, parents-in-law, children and grandchildren, mistresses and lovers. To provide each one of us with such a devoted guardian – that is our unique road to universal prosperity!
In view of the above, it is deemed expedient to conduct competitions for the best media coverage of the achievements of national corruption leaders, to initiate prizes in honor of outstanding corruption proponents (who have unfortunately departed this world for a non-corrupt one) for the best works of literature and art revealing the benefits of common people’s life in an entirely corrupt environment, and also to establish the honorary titles of ‘Merited Corruptionist of Ukraine’ and ‘People’s Corruptionist of Ukraine’.
Inspired by the spirit of the Law, we should petition UNESCO for putting kumivstvo on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage, clarifying the most essential advantages of that distinctive public phenomenon over the primitive Western nepotism; advance the slogan ‘Corruption will save the world!’ (emphasizing the moral aspect of the dilemma for those who doubt the usefulness of legalization of corruption: ‘It is more honest to openly practice corruption than to pretend that it does not exist’); also, start a Party of Armchair Corruptionists; and, last but not least, improve the culture of corruption.
Should the world to the west of our borders fail to comprehend the shining splendor of corruption and refuse to see the way it is bound to lead humanity to new heights of honesty, sincerity, progress and predictability, there is a nationally lucrative alternative: to promote the country as ‘The World’s No. 1 Corruption Preserve’ and to start actively inviting tourists to come and see this wonder, encouraging them to take part in a contest for bribe-givers, establishing cups and medals for foreign guests giving the maximum total one-visit amount of bribes to Ukrainian officials, starting from the customs officers on the border. After all, visitors normally find pleasure in hand-feeding game preserve or zoo inhabitants, don’t they?
So shall we start drafting that Law, struggling for worldwide recognition of the invaluableness of our rich experience in that sphere? Or shall we instead start effectively eliminating the ‘centuries-old legacy’ before we are finally ‘conquered by ourselves’
Andriy Mykolaiovych Frolkin
Lawmaking by the people