Corruption, human rights and social justice



Do you believe in monsters? I do, though not the ones you can find in myths, legends and fairy tales. The real world is where the monsters are… monsters, fighting for power….


Have you seen Andrei Zvyagintsev’s new  film “Leviathan”? The film is set in Russia’s desolate north. The main character, Nikolai, is a soulful car mechanic who lives in a wooden house by the Barents Sea with his frustrated wife and a depressed teenage son from an earlier marriage.

His house and land are being taken from him by the state, represented here by a drunken and corrupt mayor who is closely advised by an Orthodox priest. Nikolai’s friend, a lawyer, travels from Moscow to help him fight the mayor. But that only leads to more disasters.

In the end, Nikolai loses his wife, his freedom and his house, which, in a final twist, is bulldozed to make space for a new church that is inaugurated by the mayor and the priest, who preaches about patriotism and love for the Russian state…

As the Economist points out, “Leviathan” may not break new artistic ground, but it has a lot to say about life in Russia.

Rarely has an art film evoked such fierce debate. It has been denigrated as heresy and slander by supporters of the state and the church, and praised by liberals who recognise its truths.

As noted by the Economist, a few days before the film was released in Russia, Kirill, the patriarch of the Orthodox church, took to the floor of the Duma (the lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia). He praised the Soviet era for breeding “solidarity” in people and lashed out at the depravity of the West.


Zvyagintsev however clearly intended this film as a parable for modern human-kind, not just Russians. This movie is about the corruption and collusion of elites everywhere to exploit and abuse “the little people”.

As Frank Vogl points out in his book “Waging War on Corruption: Inside the Movement Fighting the Abuse of Power”, “Corruption is not a single event, but a continuum, perpetrated day in and day out against citizens by crooked politicians and civil servants who enjoy the position of power… Corruption is a political, social, and economic issue of global proportions. Today, as never before, it is a major cause of the global crises of poverty, human rights, justice, and security. It impacts us all….”



While many live in denial, like the proverbial ostrich, or think that corruption is “just a way of life”, every society, sector and individual would benefit from saying “NO” to this crime. We all can:

  • Raise awareness
  • Engage the youth about what ethical behavior is and what corruption is.
  • Report incidents of corruption
  • Refuse to participate in any activities that are not legal and transparent



False Accusations: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

“When one person makes an accusation, check to be sure he himself is not the guilty one. Sometimes it is those whose case is weak who make the most clamour.”

Piers Anthony


I personally met victims of false allegations and witnessed the devastating effect of such allegations on them and their families. One of the stories I came across is provided below.  I was shocked to discover that  in cases I came across the false accusers have not been prosecuted for their actions.

The high rate of false allegations identified in various studies  is truly alarming:

Unfortunately, these studies provide no information on whether the proven false accusers have been prosecuted for their actions.

False allegations is a crime that ruins people’s lives therefore I firmly believe that all false-accusers should be severely prosecuted for their actions.


Related Resources:

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( Russia, 1990s)

(  Photo by Ruslan Lobanov  )

I met Nina in the orphanage where I was working. She just came back to teaching from the maternity leave. I always admired Nina. She was a very good teacher, full of compassion and love. She knew how to talk to children and make them feel good. She had three children of her own, which probably helped. Once I asked her why they decided to have that many children, as people rarely had more than one child at that time, if any at all. Life was too tough and unstable.

“It’s a long story,” – she said. “I married straight after graduating from the Pedagogical University. My husband was a teacher as well. By the time we had our second child he was offered a position of the deputy-principal in one of the local schools.

That year we got an offer through the district teachers board to apply for a one-year work-experience position in the UK. There was only one such position for the whole district. We perfectly fitted the criteria – a family of teachers with two kids and one of the adults having a managerial position within the school sector. We both could speak English. We both were very excited about that offer, as we have never been overseas before.

However a few weeks after we submitted our application, the principal of the school called my husband for a private chat. A mother of a 15-year-old student filed a complaint that he was sexually harassing her daughter at school. We both were shocked, all the teachers at school were stunned. No one believed the allegations. My husband hardly knew this girl and had never been with her alone.

He was stood down as a deputy-principal while the school was investigating the issue. It turned out that there was no issue at all after all. The girl herself knew nothing about the allegations and her mum soon withdrew her complaint. But while the school has been dealing with that complaint, we missed out on the trip to the UK.

A few months later the girl’s mother admitted that she was paid by the principal of a neighboring school to file this complain, so that he could go to UK with his family. And he did.

We both were very depressed and stunned by these false allegations. So we could not think of anything better to cheer ourselves up than having another baby. And we did.”

Her face lit up with a tired smile. “But I need to go now. My grandma is sick, so I need to get some medication for her before picking up the older kids from school and the little one from the creche.”

Nina and her husband were sharing their small cramped apartment with her mother, her mother-in-law and her grandmother. Five adults and three little kids under the same roof – they surely had a very “cheerful”  life.


(Photo by dopopioggia )