The Nagygate Affair, Corruption and Organized Crime: Corruption Networks and their Potential Impact on the Quality of Democracy in the Czech Republic

Petr Kupka 1  and Michal Mocht’ak 1
  • 1 Faculty of Social Studies, Department of Political Science, Masaryk University, Joštova 10, 60200 Brno, Czech Republic
Petr Kupka and Michal Mocht’ak


This paper addresses the influence of organized crime on the performance of democracy in the Czech Republic and seeks to determine which dimensions of its political system (if any) are most endangered. We construe organized crime in terms of corruption networks, questioning in effect the predominant understanding of these two concepts as distinct or even exclusive phenomena. The paper thus construes corruption and organized crime as concepts referring to transgressive acts (i.e., behavior that involves a violation of moral or social boundaries that need not be legally codified), rather than in terms of legal norms. The influence of corruption networks is demonstrated using the “Nagygate” affair, which is analyzed using Maltz’s framework of potential harm. We argue that the debate on organized crime in the Czech Republic is, in fact, inherently tied to the study of corruption, since corruption constitutes an integral part of organized crime activity. Our findings are that transgressive behavior has a mostly negative impact, including loss of trust, the widespread belief that injustice goes unpunished, a weakening of the political system, and degeneration of the democratic regime. Moreover, the Nagygate scandal provides evidence that democratic institutions are not solely victims of organized crime but also a potential source of transgressive acts.

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World Political Science (WPS), sponsored by the International Political Science Association (IPSA), publishes translations of prize-winning articles nominated by prominent national political science associations and journals around the world.