Alexei Navalny in The Guardian:
Exactly one year ago, I did not die from poisoning by a chemical weapon, and it would seem that corruption played no small part in my survival. Having contaminated Russia’s state system, corruption has also contaminated the intelligence services. When a country’s senior management is preoccupied with protection rackets and extortion from businesses, the quality of covert operations inevitably suffers. A group of FSB agents applied the nerve agent to my underwear just as shoddily as they incompetently dogged my footsteps for three and a half years – in violation of all instructions from above – allowing civil investigating activists to expose them at every turn.
To be fair, a regime based on corruption can perform more elementary tasks to perfection. The judicial system – the first thing autocrats intent on robbing their nation take control of – functions perfectly on a quid pro quo basis. That is why, when I went back to Russia after medical treatment, I was taken straight from the plane to prison. There is not much to celebrate in that, but at least I now have time to read the memoirs of world leaders.