Kishan Maher

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International Relations (2020 Cohort)

Drawing on data leaks, investigative reports, and elite interviews, my research looks at if and when Russia uses corruption networks to advance its foreign policy in Europe and Asia. The study of corruption has grown precipitously over the past two decades. In International Relations (IR), this has recently led to the study of transnational corruption networks. These consist of the financial intermediaries and middle-men that make corruption both possible and profitable in the modern international economy. Particularly in studies of post-Soviet Eurasia, scholars have suggested these networks could come under the influence of regional powers. This is taken further by Western think tanks and policymakers who frequently decry the “weaponization” of corruption by states like Russia and China. Yet, to date, there has been no thorough academic treatment of this phenomenon: its existence, logics, and limits.

My research therefore seeks to determine the conditions under which corruption might be a viable foreign policy tool, and the logic motivating the actors involved. In so doing, I hope to contribute to rich bodies of work on the international dimensions of corruption and Russian foreign policy      

I am an MPhil candidate in International Relations at Lincoln College, University of Oxford. Before joining the DPIR, I did my undergraduate studies in International Relations at the London School of Economics & Political Science. My interests span foreign policy analysis, public international law, international security, and Constructivist and English School approaches to IR. I have also worked as an intern for the Department for Transport.