Karin Hilmer PedersenPh.d., lektor ved Institut for Statskundskab, Aarhus Universitet, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lars JohannsenPh.d., lektor ved Institut for Statskundskab, Aarhus Universitet, email@example.com
Abstract: Corruption: political strategy and nation building. A comparative analysis of Baltic presidential speeches 1998–2009Research into the root causes of corruption in post-Soviet societies usually point either to the Soviet legacy of informal norms determining what is perceived as acceptable behaviour, or to institutional causes such as the combination of massive privatization and unclear legislation, something which created opportunities for the elites to enrich themselves during the transition phase. Corruption can be framed both as an element in a nation-building process – »we, the honest« versus »the dishonest Russians« – or as a political populist strategy – »we, suffering people« versus »they, the corrupt elite«. Here we focus on the three Baltic states and argue that presidents, occupying the high-est post in each country, can themselves choose how to frame the issue of corruption. The question is which frame they opt for. Analysing 1,278 presidential speeches, we argue that the institutional set-up of presidential elections influence the choice of frame: whereas directly elected Lithuanian presidents choose an anti-establishment frame, indirectly elected Estonian and Latvian president have chosen a frame where corruption is seen as an alien phenomenon to their respective nations.