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Ministry of Interior of the Slovak republic   Today is 27. May 2024, Monday

1. Corruption as a social problem

Historical context of corruption
Corruption is one of the most serious and dangerous social threats that directly affects the country's stability, security, and democratic, political, economic and social system. The consequences of corruption lead to a decline in moral values, to loss of confidence in public institutions, to threatening the proper functioning of the market economy and democratic institutions, to deepening of social inequalities and to violation of the principle of equal opportunities.
Corruption occurs in a variety of historical and cultural contexts, in all types of state arrangements, including consolidated economies and advanced democracies. It can be stated that since time immemorial, there has been a tendency in human society to spoil good manners at the cost of utilitarianism by actions that we now call corrupt. Corruption does not respect borders, does not distinguish any nationality, its harmful impact on society is a global problem that needs to be addressed at national, as well as international community level.
Definition of corruption
The concept of corruption is not regulated by the Criminal Code, it applies only as the title of the third part of the eighth chapter of a special section entitled “Crimes against Public Order”, which defines the merits of corruption offenses. The origin of the term corruption comes from the Latin word base rumpere, which in translation means to break, to rupture. The Latin form of the word corruptus means the consequence of dishonest conduct or behavior, which is described as perverted, morally corrupt, and broken. It means, therefore, to break someone, meaning to force him to change the attitude of a certain principle or his former opinion.
Due to the diversity of forms of corrupt behavior and its adaptability to new social conditions, there is no uniform definition, accepted within the national and international environment, encompassing all forms and modes of action that could be subsumed. Corruption is related to violations of legislation, internal guidelines, ethical standards, integrity principles, but also informal social codes of conduct
In general, corruption can be described as having the effect, first, of satisfying a party to the corruption relationship by providing an unjustified advantage or benefit, and, secondly, of unacceptable harm to the public interest. The motive for such behavior is the morally unjustifiable achievement, acceptance, or misrepresentation of the acquisition of material, mental or intangible benefits or benefits, but also the acquisition of reputation, prestige or other personal benefits.
From the contextual point of view, diverse interpretations of corruption can be unified into basic principles defining its substance as a form of deviant behavior beyond the norms regulating the activity and behavior of bearers of public authority for remuneration or other benefit, for the mutual benefit and enrichment of those who grant or promise the advantage. Corruption is a specific agreement that is beneficial to both parties, but the victims are third parties at the expense of unjustifiable or favored parties to the corruption agreement.
Not all manifestations of corruption have a criminal form, only some of what is considered immoral or socially harmful is contained in the legislation. At the same time, the legal norms capture the specifics of the roles of individual actors of corruption and their complementarity, since there is always a defined entity offering, providing or promising a bribe and an entity applying for, receiving or having promised a bribe. In addition to the core entities, the corrupting one and the one being corrupted, other criminally responsible bodies, intermediaries, may be involved in corruption.
Corruption can take the form of a bargain, with a relative of a public official (nepotism). Establishing acquaintances and creating interdependent relationships (clientelism) is also considered as corruption. An important form of clientelism is corrupt behavior in the form of favoring its favorites (favoritism / connivance). However, these forms of corruption do not have a criminal form and cannot be penalized by means of criminal law.
Corruption is also closely related to the issue of conflict of interest, which may be its primary indicator, whereas it constitutes such acting of a public official that jeopardizes the trust in his impartiality or where the public official abuses his position to gain unjustified benefit for himself or for another person.
Interpretation of corruption in the international environment
Corruption is a socially negative phenomenon characterized by a deviation from the value-oriented and norm-adjusted way of promoting the interests and needs of society. In the international environment, various interpretations of the term corruption are used, reflecting the preference of the private interest over the public interest.
The most widespread is one of the traditional definitions that defines corruption as "the abuse of public power for illegal, private purposes". The Preamble to the Council of Europe's Criminal Law Convention on Corruption states that “Corruption threatens the rule of law, democracy and human rights, undermines good governance, decency and social justice, distorts competition, impedes economic development and threatens the stability of democratic institutions and the moral foundations of society."
The Council of Europe Civil Law Convention on Corruption in Article 2 interprets corruption as "direct or indirect requesting, offering, granting or receiving a bribe or other undue advantage, or a promise thereof that distorts the proper performance of the obligation or behavior required of the bribe recipient, undesirable advantage or promise". As a criterion of corrupt behavior, a breach of the proper implementation of the obligation for self-enrichment is emphasized.
Individual characteristics of corruption show that corruption phenomena are not isolated, they relate the development and modernization of society and have to be considered in the context of historical, cultural and social realities of transnational communities, particular states, ethnic or national communities, as well as in relation to tradition, public opinion, criminality and the like. The definition of corruption, therefore, has to be based on its specific manifestation, which is determined by the conditions for the implementation of corruption in various spheres of societal activities.
Forms of manifestation and spheres of influence of corruption
The basic prerequisite for successful elimination of the problem of corruption is to know the forms of manifestation and spheres of action of corruption. Based on social, group or individual determinants, there are many different opinions regarding corruption. It can be stated that corruption takes many shapes, forms of expression and accompanying signs in the form of anti-social actions, often in conjunction with a number of other illegal activities.
Corruption can be structured on the basis of criteria of intensity, severity, spheres of activity, stage of its manifestation, but most often, it is evaluated and classified according to the extent and severity of corruption behavior into large and small corruption. Large corruption is associated with corruption of political power structures, as well as leaders of public and social life. In most cases it constitutes serious corruption, corrupt behavior is well hidden and the amount of bribes reaches a considerable extent. Small corruption is understood as related to the performance of state administration and self-government. Bribes made in connection with the recovery of customs duties, fines, taxes, fees, assessments and the like are disproportionately smaller in comparison to large corruption.
In general, political corruption is considered to be particularly serious from among other manifestations of corruption, which undermines the credibility of governments and political representation, threatens democratic institutions, the fundamentals of the market economy by assimilating with the fundamental political and economic structures of the state and affects the security of the state in terms of both, internal and external security. Serious and dangerous forms of corrupt behavior are also those where members of criminal and organized groups, through illegal financial and other means, penetrate the legal structures of society and the state in order to exert their influence on decision-making in matters of general interest.
Different perspectives on corruption identify different forms of its manifestation and spheres of occurrence, which are reflected in the different classification and structuring of corruption. In the context of corruption, its classification and typology, it can be stated that knowing the forms of manifestations of corrupt behavior, their causes, substance and consequences is an inevitable prerequisite for eliminating this undesirable social phenomenon, characterized by the destruction of fundamental values and standards of society.             


  • Corruption is related to violations of legislation, internal guidelines, ethical standards, integrity, but also informal rules of social behavior.
  • Due to the diversity of forms of corrupt behavior and its adaptability to new social conditions, there is no uniform definition covering all aspects of this undesirable social phenomenon.
  • Social phenomena, such as nepotism, clientelism and favoritism (connivance) can be considered a corrupt behavior.
  • Not all manifestations of corruption have a criminal form and are punishable under the Criminal Code
  • In the international environment are used various interpretations of the term, reflecting the preference of private interest over public interest.



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