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Introduction. Corruption is a phenomenon that haunts humanity almost from the moment of the emergence of the first, organized by certain rules, forms of its existence. By taking root in all spheres of state functioning, corruption can jeopardize the existence of the emerging economic system and civil society. Therefore, overcoming corruption is becoming an extremely difficult problem [1].

 In Ukraine, in recent years, it has covered the entire vertical of the economy, including decision-making processes by the state apparatus, the functioning of business and the livelihood of households, becoming the most acute problem of society. Characteristic of the national economy is the formation of increasingly complex hierarchical structures of corruption systems, the creation and existence of which is possible only through the merger of state power and criminal structures [2, p. 9].

The high level of corruption in Ukraine (especially in the activities of public authorities, local governments and state enterprises) is a negative phenomenon that systematically causes a low level of economic development in the country, difficulty in attracting foreign investment, slow integration with the European Union. In addition, due to the fact that the State Budget regularly does not receive significant funds due to the lack of effectiveness of measures to prevent and combat corruption, the state’s social protection of vulnerable groups is in a very unsatisfactory state. Corruption in the form of illegal creation of benefits by public authorities and local governments for certain business entities, the wide discretion of public authorities in the implementation of control measures also significantly harms the development of the private sector [3].

The study of the phenomenology of corruption in Ukraine in the historical and normative context will serve as a basis for the development of effective measures to overcome it.

  •  Review of recent research.

The problem of corruption in general and its genesis in Ukraine have been the subject of research by such scientists as G. Bozhok, S. Bratkov, V. Veklych, A. Voloshenko, L. Gulemyuk, V. Gurkovsky, A. Kachkin, T. Kachkina, A. Kirpychnikov, V. Kostenko, E. Nevmerzhytsky, S. Rogulsky, L. Smirnova, and others. However, their scientific research was not addressed to the systematic analysis of the topics declared for consideration, but concerned general or related aspects.

  • Presentation of the main provisions

The fight against corruption is equated in complexity with the fight against human sins. It is, in fact, a combination of sins such as greed, envy, laziness and an insatiable thirst for pleasure. The world is arranged in such a way that human sins and vices cannot be destroyed. Society and each individual can only limit them to reasonable limits. Morality, state, ethics, religion – the tools by which this restriction occurs. As soon as these tools stop working, the foundations of the civilizational relationship between citizens and the state begin to crumble in society, and there is a danger of social chaos. Therefore, one of the main tasks of the state is to curb the vices of its own citizens and not only ideological and educational, but also repressive methods within the law [4].

It is believed that the first mention of corruption in Russia appeared in the chronicles of the thirteenth century. In particular, in this regard, mention the Dvina Charter of 1397-1398, which contains the definition of illegal remuneration for the exercise of official authority – “bribery”, or “promise”. According to another version, the “promise” as a bribe is defined for the first time in the Pskov charter (1462-1471). During the reign of Ivan the Terrible, the death penalty was introduced for acts similar to modern bribery [5]. There are certificates of the execution of a deacon, who, in addition to his due reward, also received a roast goose stuffed with coins [6; 7, p. 41].

In the Russian Empire, the basis of corruption was the system of so-called localism. A characteristic feature of this system of local government was, in particular, the fact that most government officials at the time did not receive cash payments from the state, and lived solely at the expense of visitors. In addition, the appointment took place in accordance with the hierarchy of boyar surnames, without taking into account the personal business qualities of the future official. Thus, a corporate-closed stratum of the population was formed, interested in using power to achieve selfish personal or group goals, which in turn contributed to the spread of corruption. During the reign of Ivan IV, bribery, according to the Sudebnik of 1550, was finally recognized as a criminal offense. But, as M. Karamzin notes, although bribery was punishable by law, officials were constantly improving ways of receiving bribes from visitors. The petitioner, entering the judge, put the money in front of the images, as if on candles. Only on the day of the Holy Resurrection were judges and government officials allowed to accept a gift and a few dozen eggs. The reform carried out in the 50s of the 16th century, due to which salaries were established for persons in the civil service, did not destroy the roots of corruption [5; 7, p. 41].

In the Constitution of the Hetman of the Zaporozhian Army P. Orlyk of 1710, corruption is mentioned as a phenomenon that has a detrimental effect on the entire state system. It also lists corrupt actions and emphasizes the need to combat them [8, p. 19].

In the Zaporizhzhya Sich, the Grand Extradition Council in its verdict of December 23, 1764, stated that according to the military charter, atamans and officers were forbidden to use the military treasury for personal needs under penalty of “death penalty.” And if the ataman of the tent behaves “wrongly” or indulges thieves, he is subject to punishment and the next time can not be elected ataman “[7, p. 42; 9, p. 70].

Bribery itself was one of the most common crimes in pre-revolutionary Russia. Both “bribe-takers” and “bribe-takers” were considered criminals. A separate type of bribery was also extortion of money and gifts for actions related to the service of the perpetrator. The revolution, which allegedly took place to solve social problems, led to an even greater increase in bribery. The most brutal repression and extermination of generations of bureaucratic elites, people’s commissars and village council heads did not help. During the Soviet era, the number of people who were allowed to abuse power was quite small, information about this was hidden from the people and was dosed [10]. In the 1950s and 1980s, the party-Soviet and Chekist elites merged on a corrupt basis, and this phenomenon reached a special scale in the national republics [2, p. 12].

In such conditions, the national anti-corruption system of Ukraine was transformed into an oligarchic model with the implementation of responsibility on the clan principle “own – foreign” [11, p. 65]. Unfortunately, we must state that in Ukraine the idea of ​​building a democratic state governed by the rule of law has given way to corrupt pragmatism and adaptation, which have literally led to rampant corruption in public administration [12; 13, p. 114].

Based on the above, it is not surprising that the vast majority of encyclopedias and dictionaries of the Soviet era, which interpret the term “corruption”, emphasize that the phenomenon of corruption is characteristic and inherent in the bourgeois state and society in which human exploitation takes place, the state apparatus is subordinated. monopolies and conditions are laid for it in the very economic and political systems of capitalist society [2, p. 12].

It should be noted that during the years of Ukraine’s independence, the legislative definition of “corruption” has been distorted and become broader. Thus, in the Law of Ukraine “On Combating Corruption“ of October 5, 1995 [14] in Article 1, corruption is defined as the activities of persons authorized to perform state functions, aimed at the illegal use of their powers to obtain material goods, services, benefits or other advantages [8, p. 18].

Subsequently, on April 24, 1998, the Decree of the President of Ukraine №367/98 “On the Concept of Combating Corruption for 1998-2005“ [15] was adopted, which provided that corruption is a set of different in nature and degree of public danger, but unique in its the essence of acts of corruption, other offenses (criminal, administrative, civil, disciplinary), as well as violations of the ethics of conduct of officials related to the commission of these acts.

At the same time, Annex 2 “Definition of Terms and Concepts” of the Order of the Main Department of the Civil Service of Ukraine (№ 94 of November 30, 2001 “On Supplementing the Handbook of Typical Professional Characteristics of Civil Servants”) states that corruption is abuse of office, direct use of official position. a person of rights and powers for the purpose of personal enrichment; marketability of public and political figures, employees of administrative bodies [8, p. 18; 16; 17].

Accordingly, for a long time the opinion of citizens and the population of Ukraine that corruption is inherent only in officials and that only officials commit acts of corruption has taken root. This legislative formulation of the term “corruption” has contributed to the spread and consolidation of this stereotype of thinking [18].

The situation improved somewhat with the adoption of the Law of Ukraine “On Principles of Prevention and Counteraction to Corruption” on June 11, 2009 № 1506-VI. This document defines corruption as the use by a person of his or her official authority and related opportunities for the purpose of obtaining an improper benefit or accepting a promise / offer of such benefit for himself or others or, respectively, a promise / offer or providing an improper benefit to or on such a person. a requirement for other natural or legal persons in order to persuade this person to illegally use the official powers granted to him and the related opportunities [19].

In turn, in the new Law of Ukraine “On Principles of Prevention and Counteraction to Corruption“, which entered into force on January 1, 2011, the analyzed term is interpreted as the use of a person specified in part one of Article 4 of this Law. such opportunities for the purpose of obtaining an improper benefit or accepting a promise / offer of such benefit for oneself or other persons or, respectively, a promise / offer or providing an improper benefit to a person specified in part one of Article 4 of this Law or at his request to other individuals or legal entities. to persuade this person to misuse his official powers and related opportunities [20].

It should be noted that the first part of Article 4 of this Law referred to persons authorized to perform the functions of state or local self-government, for example, the President of Ukraine, the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, his First Deputy and Deputy, the Prime Minister of Ukraine, civil servants, local government officials; military officials of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and other military formations formed in accordance with the laws; officials and officials of the prosecutor’s office, the Security Service of Ukraine, the diplomatic service, the customs service, the state tax service [20], etc.

Currently in force is the Law of Ukraine dated 14.10.2014 №1700-VII “On Prevention of Corruption“ in which the phenomenon of corruption is interpreted as the use of a person, his official powers or related opportunities in order to obtain illegal benefits or accept such benefits or acceptance promises / offers of such benefit for oneself or other persons or, respectively, promise / offer or provision of illegal benefit to a person or at his request to other natural or legal persons in order to persuade this person to misuse his official powers or related opportunities [21].

Article 3 defines the subjects to which this Law applies. In particular, it has been established that, in addition to government officials in the public sphere, they also include candidates for deputies of Ukraine and persons who permanently or temporarily hold positions related to the performance of organizational or administrative duties, or specially authorized to perform such duties in legal entities of private law, regardless of organizational and legal form, as well as other persons who are not officials and who perform work or provide services in accordance with the contract with the enterprise, institution, organization – in cases provided by this Law [21].

Despite the concomitant interpretation of this phenomenon in all analyzed acts, most scholars believe that it is impossible to unambiguously define this term, because “corruption is easier to recognize than to define.” There is no clearly defined exhaustive range of actions that are considered corrupt (the “concept of relevance”). In addition, the definition of “corruption” is significantly complicated by the extremely large diversification of this phenomenon, ie the variety of its manifestations and forms [22, p. 67].

It should be noted that in recent years Ukraine has established a regulatory framework and established institutions that, provided sufficient political will, can potentially give a real result in large-scale anti-corruption both at the level of prevention and punishment for corruption offenses. However, as the results of opinion polls and assessments by international organizations show, the efforts made by the Ukrainian authorities have not had a significant positive effect in reducing corruption in society and in the activities of state bodies. In particular, due to the fact that most of the measures taken concerned the development and adoption of legislation, the establishment of new anti-corruption institutions and ensuring the beginning of their full-fledged activities [3].

  • Conclusions

All of the above makes it possible to conclude that corruption is a phenomenon of subjective manifestation, which has long been considered a factor of social chaos.

In the territory of the Ukrainian state, in the historical context, corruption actions were condemned, but this does not mean the absence of their manifestations. The corrupt were mostly subjected to repressive measures, such as the death penalty, various punishments, including deprivation of the right to hold a senior position, and other restrictive measures.

During the years of independence, several specialized acts were adopted in the field under study. Currently, the term “corruption” is used as:

1) illegal actions of the authorized subject in order to obtain illegal benefits for themselves or their loved ones by forcing other persons to commit any action;

2) independent misuse of one’s official position to obtain certain benefits both for oneself and for the benefit of interested persons;

3) actions aimed at persuading the authorized person to misuse his / her official capabilities.

However, the normative consolidation of the recognition of the fact of corruption as unacceptable, immoral and negative social phenomenon is not enough to eradicate it from the minds of Ukrainians as permissible as a specific necessity of life. Thus, the main way to overcome it is the mass educational work of public and private representatives of the public administration focused on the formation of public awareness in accordance with anti-corruption standards.

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