Kleptocracy: Its Global Impact on Markets and Democracy

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CIPE and colleagues are sharing a new policy brief that spotlights how the systemic and systematic looting of public funds by kleptocrats undermines the foundations of democratic governance, by draining resources that could otherwise be used to support democratic institutions such as the judiciary, the press and civil society organizations. Moreover, kleptocrats often use their ill-gotten wealth to corrupt politicians, manipulate public opinion, and undermine democratic processes.

The link between kleptocracy and Russian influence in the West, especially at the time of the Russian invasion, is a prime example of the dangers posed by this phenomenon. The flow of money from kleptocracies into Western markets can be used to finance political campaigns, fund propaganda and interfere in elections, thereby compromising the integrity of democratic systems and eroding public trust in government.

CIPE’s John Zemko is the main author of the brief, with contributions by CIPE’s Abdulwahab Alkebsi, Alex Aparicio, Catherine GibsonEric Hontz and Rebecca Russavage, and Brandon Silver from the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights.

Read more and download the policy brief at the Forum 2000 website.

Zemko also joined Andréa Ngombet, NED fellow and founder of the Sassoufit Collective, and Jessica Ludwig, Director of Freedom and Democracy at the George W. Bush Presidential Center, to discuss the broader issue of kleptocratic behavior channeled through public institutions and foreign governments as well as through individual kleptocrats. Read more and watch the video here.

Published Date: February 13, 2023