The objective is to project the condition of Mafia in Russia
THE RED MAFIA: A LEGACY OF COMMUNISM
The mafia is a major feature of Russia's experience in making the transition to a market economy. This article inquires into the nature and origin of this phenomenon. The evidence suggests that the Russian mafia phenomenon is a direct outgrowth of the informal economy and related corruption that was a significant part of the economy of the Soviet Union. Economists have usually concluded that the informal economy improved efficiency and consumer satisfaction in the Soviet economy. As aspects of this informal economy have developed into mafia activity, it has become less benign and is a possible threat to the success of the market economy in Russia because it threatens to defeat competition and thus the major benefit of a market economy.
Mafias and Organized Crime
Economists are uncomfortable with the term mafia, preferring to talk and theorize about organized crime and the criminal firm. The resulting speculations or models are sometimes intended to characterize the entities known to the public and the press as mafia organizations. At other times they are more general, intending to cover all organizations engaged in criminal activity, with the assumption that mafia organizations fall in this more general category.
The term mafia arose in Italy around 1865 to characterize some powerful Sicilians or Sicilian families engaged in violent and criminal activity who also achieved considerable control of local economic activity. As early as the 1970s in the Soviet Union mafia described the combination of underground economic enterprises and the officials involved with those underground enterprises as protectors and beneficiaries. Today it is used to describe a wide range of criminal activity in Russia. The term mafia is more often associated with illegal market enterprises providing drugs, illegal liquor, or gambling.
Another characteristic of mafias is their influence in the legal law enforcement and criminal justice systems. Leaders of the mafia may succeed in bribing individuals anywhere in the criminal justice system - police, courts, corrections. Cases may be dismissed, juries bribed, sentences reduced, parole lifted. The mafia may agree in some cases to use its powers on behalf of others who are not generally under its protection. Thus a characteristic of a mafia is that it performs governmental functions -- law enforcement and criminal justice -- in spheres where the legal judicial system refuses to exercise power or is unable to do so.
Why Mafias Develop
Historically, three major conditions are associated with the origins and development of mafias:
- An abdication of legitimate government power, possibly encouraged by the population's rejection of government authority,
- Excessive bureaucratic power, and
- The financial potential of illegal markets.
These conditions may interact, each providing growth opportunities to a mafia originating for one of the other reasons.
Excessive Bureaucratic Power
In general, excessive bureaucratic power and discretion provide the basis for corruption -- for bribery, shakedowns, and extortion -- especially when the criteria for bureaucratic decisions are unclear and difficult to monitor and evaluate. The corruption of a bureaucratic agency may begin with the clients of the agency, such as the members of a regulated industry. In the Soviet Union bribes were necessary to secure everything from drivers' licensee to medical care and even higher education, as well as goods.
Illegal market enterprises generate a good deal of cash that can be used for bribes and investment in other industries. It is easier for legal authorities to overlook voluntary trade among consenting adults, even if illegal, than it is to take bribes to permit crimes that involve victims. Law enforcement agencies may be able to meet their quotas for arrests more easily if they cooperate with the market leaders in illegal industry. Illegal drug markets have been a major factor in the virulence of the Sicilian mafia in the last several decades.
The Mafia Phenomenon in the Soviet Union
Two of the three conditions historically related to the development and growth of mafias -- excessive bureaucratic power and illegal markets -- were characteristic of the Soviet Union before its breakup at the end of 1991. The literature on the underground economy in the Soviet Union paints the following picture
- A substantial underground economy - "off the books" of the state-owned enterprises-operating within and in association with the legal or planned economy. This was in addition to legal private enterprise, such as the private agricultural plot.
- Bribery and extortion as systematic features of economic transactions throughout the economy. From retail outlets to large manufacturing enterprises to medical care and education, bribery was standard in state-operated enterprises and private businesses, both for private gain and to achieve the goals of state enterprises.
- Monitoring and control by the Communist Party and other bureaucrats of all aspects of economic activity at all levels of the economy.
- Knowledge by those in positions of authority of the underground economy and the bribery and extortion. Selective enforcement of the variety of laws, rules, and regulations governing conduct and selective use of other powers (for example, the approval of job assignments) enabled the authorities to control or manipulate underground economic activity for their own political purposes.
All this illegal market activity was accompanied by gifts or bribes to "highly placed authorities, ranging up to the ministerial level; local government chiefs; and, not least, provincial and possibly higher party secretaries and first secretaries"
The Russian Mafia - An Early Stage of Capitalism?
In the 1960s and 1970s - and on into the 1980s - the Soviet economy was characterized by extensive illegal market activity involving systematic bribery of people in positions of power, which was primarily in the hands of the Communist Party. The close association between illegal market enterprises and the authorities marked this system as mafia,3 although it differed in one important respect from the classic mafias of Italy and the United States: violence appears in almost all cases to have been exercised not by the underworld but by those in positions of power.
During the late 1980s, however, violence or threats of violence began to come from gangs, who had a vulnerable target (the new cooperatives) and, increasingly the means - firearms and other weapons. By the time of the Soviet breakup in 1991, Soviet officials had identified more than seven hundred gangs or clans operating in the Soviet Union. Organized along ethnic or family lines, each gang was headed by a boss called the thief-in-law (Handelman 1993, 40). By the late 1980s identifiable gangs based on ethnic ties were operating in Moscow. For example, the Chechens controlled black market car sales; the Azerbaijanis had the fruit and flower concessions (Newsweek 1993, 38).
Today major illegal activity involves selling or trading raw materials (including oil) at below-market prices. The raw materials are then sold in the West at market prices, and the difference is pocketed by the individuals, sometimes by deposit in a foreign bank account. The security ministry (formerly the KGB) is evidently involved in some export businesses, and other companies involved have been "set up by the Communist Party to get funds out of the country" (Erlanger 1993, As). A commodity trading firm based in Switzerland, headed by Marc Rich, was trading grain, sugar, alumina, and machinery to Russia in exchange for oil and refined aluminum ingot, making profits by "skinning" the Russians.
An Early Stage of Capitalism?
Some Russians and Americans hold the view that crime in Russia, especially organized crime, is simply an "early stage" of capitalism.
Reducing Illegal Markets
The communist economy created a vast array of illegal markets in products and services that are accepted as legal in market economies. Some prices are still controlled in Russia, providing opportunities for illegal gain in what should be legal enterprise, such as exporting oil rather than selling it internally.
"In the Russian Federation the unity of the economic area, the free movement of goods, services, and financial resources, support for competition, and freedom of economic activity are guaranteed."
Thus the central government of Russia now seems to have the basic tools it needs to encourage competition and prevent lower-level governments from defeating the market economy. In fact the greatest potential for the future may lie in competition among regions and cities. If the central government succeeds in establishing and enforcing basic property rights, a commercial code, and contract law, the cities or regions that manage to elect honest politicians committed to making their jurisdictions attractive to new enterprises and foreign investment are likely to surpass those that do not.
WHAT'S GOOD FOR THE MAFIA IS GOOD FOR RUSSIA
By MICHAEL SCAMMELL;
Published: December 26, 1993
Exactly what the word "mafia" means in Russia is not clear, but those who use the word seem to have in mind the brash entrepreneurs, slick wheeler-dealers and aggressive businessmen who have emerged, seemingly out of nowhere, to take advantage of the hesitant movement toward a free enterprise economy.
The so-called mafia supplies and operates the myriad sidewalk kiosks and open-air markets that have mushroomed all over Moscow.
At higher levels, they deal in vouchers, shares, currency, real estate, and, at the top, in raw materials, armaments, oil and natural gas.
They throng expensive Western-style hotels, whoop it up in casinos and nightclubs and jet in and out of Sheremetyevo Airport on foreign airlines, but not on Aeroflot if they can help it.
The mafia, it is said, is overwhelmingly responsible for the steep rise in violent crime that has swept over the capital and other large cities and has made life so much more dangerous than before.
THE 21ST CENTURY MAFIA: MADE IN CHINA
China, which is rapidly becoming a leader in global development, is now the talk of the world. However, the positive manifestations of this diverse phenomenon are closely linked with negative ones. For example, as China continues to consolidate its leading positions in the global economy, Chinese organized crime is expected to broaden its presence in global criminal links. This is of tremendous concern for Russia and the world.
Researchers are warning that the greatest threat to Russia’s national security (especially in the economic realm) comes from criminal operations in the timber sector.
DARING THE DRAGON
Why is it important to focus attention on these natural and rawmaterial resources? The matter is that over the years of reforms the Russian and foreign (including Chinese) mafias have got possession of what must never fall into their hands: Russia’s natural wealth, raw-material resources, metals (including rare-earth varieties and gold), timber and coal.
The above paragraphs are captured selectively w.r.t. Mafia from PDF File. RUSSIA in GLOB AL AFFAIR S Vol. 5•No. 1•JANUARY – MARCH•2007 (208 Pages)
"The Russian mafia dominates economic life in Russia . . . exerting control over key economic sectors." This is the situation that Russia is currently facing, according to a 1998 study on crime done by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It is no secret that Russia is in an economic crisis, but the source is not widely known. Many experts have pinpointed the source of the depression to organized crime groups. Emilio Viano, professor of Criminology at American University has said that "These groups are taking advantage of the political uncertainty in Russia, and are using it to their advantage. They see the transition from communism to capitalism as a chance to make some money, and this is having a negative effect on their economy." There is no doubt that the main source of the depression is coming from the Russian mafia, and they are having a crippling effect on the economy. The crime groups do many things to restrain the economy, but the main items are laundering funds to avoid paying taxes, demanding protection money from small start-up privately owned businesses, and using bribery and coercion to obtain favorable government contracts and tax exemptions.
A main source of income for the government is through taxation. These organized crime groups in use the banks to launder money and avoid paying taxes desperately needed by the government. An estimated 550 Russian banks - about half of the nation's credit and financial organizations - are now controlled by organized crime groups. The Russian mafia uses the control over these institutions, and then extends it to offshore banks in Cyprus and Antigua to launder the money.
The Russian mafia is notorious for its use of bribery and coercion to obtain favorable government contracts and tax exemptions. This is where the concept of corruption comes into play. Charges of corrupt behavior on the part of governmental officials have been routine, even for officials at the highest levels, and evidence suggests that police corruption is pandemic.
Considering all the factors, it is no surprise that the Russian economy is in such a mess. The cause of the current depression in Russia is certainly caused by the presence of organized criminal groups. Through their use of laundering funds to avoid paying taxes, demanding protection money from small start-up privately owned businesses, and using bribery and coercion to obtain favorable government contracts and tax exemptions they are crippling the entire economy, and preventing its growth.
Russian mafia organization
The Russian Mob or Mafia, Russkaya Mafiya, Red Mafia, Krasnaya Mafiya or Bratva (slang for 'brotherhood'), is a name given to a broad group of organized criminals of various ethnicity which appeared in the former Soviet Union territories after its disintegration in 1991. The Russian Mob's own members have been known to call their crime group "Organizatsiya" ("The Organization").
Many of the bosses and main members of the Russian mafia are believed to be ex-Soviet Army and ex-KGB officers who lost their posts in the reduction of forces that began in 1993 after the end of the Cold War. It is also believed that some of the groups' enforcers are former Russian military. Russian mobsters also recruit boxers, martial artists, and weightlifters.
The Russian Mafia appears to be organized in similar ways to the Italian mafia. It is believed, however, to be a very loose organization with internal feuds and murders being commonplace. One of the ways the mafia got so much power was that after the breakup of the union, many state-owned industries were privatized. Rather than bidding for shares, the general public were randomly given vouchers which represented share certificates in the companies.
This has led to a number of alliances between the gangs of the former USSR and others. The group is believed to have links to Colombian drug smugglers and many smaller gangs as a result of the fall of the Soviet Union. Some also believe they are at the heart of gangs smuggling illegal workers west to the European Union and often Britain, though no proof has been offered for this at this time.
Foreign businessmen and the Russian Mafia
An unknown number of foreign businessmen, believed to be in the low thousands, arrived in Russia from all over the world during the early and mid 1990s to seek their fortune and to cash in on the transition from a communist to a free market/capitalist society. This period was referred to by many of the businessmen as the "second great gold rush".
Generally, 1990 to 1998 was a wild and unstable time for most foreign businessmen operating in Russia. Dangerous battles with the Russian Mob occurred, with many being killed or wounded. The Mafia welcomed the foreign businessmen and their expertise in facilitating business and making things happen in a stagnant and new economy. The Mafia considered them as a good source of hard currency, to be extorted under the usual guise of "protection money". Many different Mafia groups would fiercely compete to be able to "protect" a certain businessman; in exchange, the businessman would not have to worry about having more than one group showing up demanding tribute from him. Many foreign businessmen left Russia after these incidents.
Foreign businessmen associated with the Russian mafia
Paul Tatum: American joint owner of Radisson-Slavanskaya Hotel in Moscow; shot 11 times in the head and neck (his attacker knew he was wearing a bulletproof vest) and killed in a sensational shooting in a Moscow Metro station in November 1996 for refusing to pay "krysha" and to be squeezed out by a silent partner. Tatum was surrounded by his own bodyguards when attacked; however, they made no attempt to save him and allowed his attacker to escape unharmed.
Ken Rowe: Canadian businessman and joint owner of Moscow Aerostar Hotel; threatened by the Russian mafia in an attempt to force him out of a joint hotel-airline venture. Mafia at one point entered the hotel with armed men and forced all employees out. Rowe later fought back and seized an Aeroflot aircraft in Montreal to recover his award in a Russian court.
The rise and rise of the Russian mafia
In 1994 Russia's then interior minister, Mikhail Yegorov, said the number of organised crime groups in the former Soviet Union had grown from 785 during Gorbachev's reign to 5,691.
By 1996 this estimate had grown to 8,000 groups, each with memberships of between 50 and 1,000.
The government in Moscow estimates the Russian mafia controls 40% of private business and 60% of state-owned companies.
Unofficial sources say 80% of Russian banks are controlled either directly or indirectly by criminals.
Mafia is not new
The Russian mafia is not a new phenomenon but its rapid growth and increasing willingness to use extreme violence is worrying law enforcement officers worldwide.
Criminals began to thrive during the Brezhnev era when the Soviet economy was stagnating. Crooks known as "thieves in law" began to fill the gap, supplying luxuries such as jeans, cigarettes, vodka, chewing gum and hi-fi equipment to those who could afford them.
The Soviet-era gangsters kept a low profile, knowing all too well they would end up in the gulags if they flaunted their ill-gotten wealth.
Moving in after the fall of communism
The downfall of communism left an economic, moral and social vacuum which the mafia has been only too happy to fill. The mafia also provided money and jobs to young men in Moscow, St Petersburg and Kiev who were struggling to cope following the collapse of the communist safety net.
Early on, in 1989, the octopus began reaching its tentacles outwards across Europe and America. Russian émigré communities in New York's Brighton Beach district, in Israel, Paris and London were seeded with mafia spawn.
Billions of dollars laundered
It is estimated around £16bn ($25bn) of dirty Russian money has left the country since the fall of communism - most of which has been laundered by banks in Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Cyprus.
Further a field the mafia is accused of running prostitution and gambling rings in Sri Lanka and of conniving with the Colombian drugs cartel.
Threat to US national security
Louis Freeh, head of the American Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), said recently the Russian mafia was the greatest threat to US national security although he later withdrew this comment.
Back at home the mafia's control of the economy appears to be stifling foreign investment. The German interior minister claimed recently foreign companies based in Russia routinely pay up to 20% of their profits to the mafia.
This level of extortion may explain why per capita investment in Russia is only a seventh of what it is in neighbouring Poland, which has its own, but less serious organised crime problem.
Thousands of shootings
Russia sees around 10,000 fatal shootings a year, 600 of which are contract killings. In the last five years 95 bankers have been murdered.
Assassins, who often kill for as little as £600 ($1,000), have targeted hotel bosses, restaurateurs, sports figures, businessmen, politicians, journalists and Afghan war veterans. In Soviet times the KGB kept the lid on the Russian mafia but its successor, the FSB, is under-funded and demoralised.
Russia's most notorious mafia boss arrested in Moscow
Detectives in Moscow have arrested Russia's most notorious mafia boss, who is wanted by both the US and British authorities for his alleged involvement in decades of major international crime.
Born in Ukraine, and nicknamed The Brainy Don - he has an economics degree - he apparently joined a Moscow crime gang in the early 1970s, and was jailed twice for petty theft and fraud. In the 1980s Mogilevich allegedly bought up the properties of Russian Jews emigrating to Israel, promising to send on the funds. The money, however, never arrived.
He lived and worked in Britain, the US and Canada. In the 1990s he apparently transferred the base of his criminal operations to Hungary. Here, Mogilevich was allegedly involved in a network of prostitution and smuggling, living in a fortified villa outside Budapest.
Mogilevich's most sophisticated alleged fraud took place in Russia in 1994 when he took control of Inkombank, one of Russia's largest private banks. It collapsed in 1998 under suspicions of money-laundering. The FBI put him on its most-wanted list in 2003. In an interview with a Russian paper in 1999, Mogilevich denied the FBI's claims, describing them as "delirious ravings".
The Case for the Mafia
Russia is an arbitrary state. People have no confidence in the stability of formal rules. They do not trust the state to enforce these. And whatever formal rules exist in that country they have little to do with the preferences of the median citizen. After seventy years of the Soviet rule, all that has endured in Russia is the old ethos. Apparently, a non-governmental enforcer of rules has emerged in Russia (and many other East European states).
The question to ask is not what the Mafia (hereafter: the non-governmental enforcer of rules) is doing, which is something we are supposed to know, but why the non-governmental enforcer of rules is strong in Russia (and not only in Russia)? One possible answer is that the non-governmental enforcer of rules is strong in Russia because it is doing a better job than is the state in reducing the transaction costs of exchange and production.
The arbitrary state has to deal with political dissidents, while the nongovernmental enforcer of rules has to worry about competing “families.” The arbitrary state and the non-governmental enforcer of rules use violence arbitrarily to enforce their rules. Stories about “Mafia” arranged killings are not much different from reports of killings organized and carried out by the arbitrary state.
MAFIA CAPITALISM IN MOSCOW
© 1994 by Andrian Kreye
The criminal code is woefully insufficient; market regulation does not exist. After fighting capitalism for 70 years nobody was prepared for the dynamics of a free-market society. Now, postideological Russia has only two common denominators: the dollar and the law of the fist.
For the few who are able to navigate the jungle of Moscow capitalism, the former Soviet Union has become the Promised Land. The more insolent their approach to business the faster they get rich. After some weeks, the company disappeared.
In Moscow, alone 8000 people are missing because they mysteriously disappeared from houses and apartments, which had become attractive commodities on Moscow's real estate market. There is even a special housing police task force which investigates businesses that use murder and extortion to clear properties of tenants. Every week a couple hundred Moscovites disappear from their homes.
Right now the only people making large profits are speculators in real estate and investment bonds, a unique phenomenon in the history of finance. Under ordinary conditions, large profits in investment and real estate signal an economic boom. But in Russia nothing is produced, nothing manufactured, and resources are peddled under the table by the mafia. Speculators convert their profits into dollars, which they deposit into West European bank accounts.
Only the mafia can thrive under Capitalism Russian-style. Previously, under Communism, they had been the only ones able to amass then-illegal hard currency. Their ruthless methods made them into a powerful, functioning structure which would survive independent of the party.
Very few bizznizmen manage to go completely legal. The mechanisms of the Mafia are embedded too deeply into society. His subordinates employ a variety of techniques: threats, blackmail, murder. It is a little easier with senior citizens and alcoholics. Alcoholics are taken to an apartment in the suburbs, where a professional drinker will keep them drunk for about two weeks. By the time the vodka and the drinking buddy are gone and the victim's recovering from his hangover, the apartment has already been sold.
In the case of senior citizens, the story is a bit more chilling. Jurij's people approach elderly apartment-dwellers and offer them a kind of life insurance. They promise to take care of them, cook food, nurse them if they're ill, with the single condition that the insurance-buyer leave them the rights to the apartment when they pass away. The elders sign up. The next day they are dead.
"Everything you hear these days about the Russian Mafia in the media just scratches the surface," Jurij begins. "Those are the beginners who get in shootouts, who work in pitiful businesses like robbery, prostitution, or drugs. What is really going on happens clandestinely." Does he think that Russia has been divided among the clans for many years? "I don't believe that. I know it for a fact," he answers. "Nobody in this country has power. So the Mafia filled that void."
"The main structures remain untouched," he muses. "And the connections between Mafia and governments are already very settled, because for work to be profitable you are dependent on good government connections. The interesting thing is that it was always the government people who took the initiative to form the clans."
Russian Mafia as a bad thing
Well, I know that the Russian "Mafia" helped Russian economy on a more personal (or individual) level then the government could at the time of the "Fall of the Soviet Union" due to the desparate times of a non-communistic country.. Most people view the Russian Mafia as a bad thing, but at the time, it worked.
A communist nation isolates itself to the world's trading economy, hence; they are dependent on themselves. Once the communist ideals were abandoned by government (the organization of Russia people), non-government leaders and people had to find money somehow. Sometimes opening a store selling American products like Pepsi and Doritos is not enough.
Russian Mafia is a cultural institution. It is an organism that has been evolving since as far back as Peter the Great and may be even deeper into the Russian history. Traditionally, Russian Mafia was an organization or better yet a collection of criminal organizations that was built around different criminal guilds. Petty thiefs ran with petty theifs, burglars with burglars, armed robbers with their own kind and so on. Quite often these "friendships" and "partnerships" were formed in prison system of the time, where criminals were held together in very tough conditions which forced many to form alliances in order to fight for survival. It was also in the prisons that "territories" were defined and "criminal bosses" were selected in almost a king like ceremony. A very complex art of tattoeing was developed to easily identify "your own" kind both in prizon and in the free world.
Post-Soviet Crime in the West
New opportunities that emerged after the USSR fell apart and a market economy sprouted in Russia were most quickly put to use by criminal firms previously engaged in limited provincial operations. Gangs wangling in Russia would not normally set up their own independent structures (as implied by the term 'mafia’) but would get integrated into the already existing international criminal cartels. In this sense, major criminal associations receive 'new blood' and a chance to expand operations, but are not being backed up by some special 'Russian mafia'.
It should be kept in mind that the integration of criminal groups roaming the post-Soviet and post- socialist world into larger international criminal associations is just a tiny element of globalisation and internatlonalisation of crime. The public focus on fairly recent criminal communities probably stems from the following factors: Wish of certain political forces to perpetuate the new 'enemy image' worded as 'globalised crime' and 'Russian mafia'. For the sake of slaying this dragon all developed nations may be united, sacrificing competition in exchange for security, once again.
The alarm over the 'Russian mafia' heated in the western media is a most serious threat to Russia's reputation, needing the political implications of the allegations about the 'Russian mafia', we can assume that attributing an international dimension to the crime control effort may not be quite sufficient for some time in destroying the perception of Russia as a crime-ridden society actively exporting ravenous crime to developed countries.
It may be most reasonable to make use of the key fact that only a small fraction of gangs categorised as the 'Russian mafia' actually originates from Russia. Most of them are of the Ukrainian, Transcaucasian, Baltic, Chechen and Ingush extraction. Nonetheless, western media would normally indiscriminately use the phrase 'Russian mafia' to describe any criminal groups originating from the former Soviet Union irrespective of their ethnic and national identity.
Explaining the international nature of the 'Russian mafia' and supplanting this trite phrase with another, politically correct, term (e.g. 'post-Soviet crime', a detailed description of its alliance with national and international criminal communities of developed countries call eliminate the damage done by lhe preposterous issue of the 'Russian mafia' to the reputation of Russia.
On the contrary', Russian criminal firms became known to the West only after they actively integrated into the international criminal community following the end to the national isolation.
Therefore, it is essential to fight both organised crime and the exaggeration of its role in general and in particular.
Mafia in Russia
To all of you who still believes that Russia is still in the good hands as it was in the good old days, (and the good old days are only five years ago), of the Soviet Union when KGB where still able to control the situation of the criminality.
There are many surprises in store for a foreigner coming to Russia. In order to avoid this, one must know the country, its people and know what to do in a situation when shooting break out nearby - gangs fighting it out for spheres of influence. There isn't one newspaper in Moscow which does not describe the criminal situation in the Russian capital, a city which used to be famous for its quit and tranquillity where one could safely walk the streets of Moscow at any time of day or night without fear of coming across a robber, is now noted for its banditism and bursts of gunfire. Neither the police or special anti-crime squads are able to cope with the evil forces creeping out of their hideouts. But an end must come to this.
One can come across hair-raising stories in Moscow newspapers. For example: One of the headlines reads: "Approximately 10 Persons Cut Down in a Shot-Out." A number of "ganglang leaders" gathered in a Finnish sauna to relax and have a good time. the "ringleader" bodyguards sitting nearby opened fire on the cops.
Second headline: "An American Expert Drowned in His own Bathtub." A 35 year-old US citizen, an economics consultant at a Joint Enterprise was drowned in the flat he rented on Trekhprudni Pereylok. Law enforcement officials did not reveal the motives behind the death.
The third headline: "Contaminated Is Being Brought into Moscow". A consignment of ground pork was brought into Moscow from Belgium and was put on the sale in commercial kiosks, (kiosks are under supervision of the Mafia). The cargo of 60 tons was contaminated by salmonella. So you don't have to come across hired killers in the streets of Moscow.
Fourth headline: "Seven Bodies in One Shoot-Out." This happened at 16 Kazakova Street in Moscow the site of an office and the restaurant "Dagmos." A jeep drove up to the restaurant at midday and the guys coming out of it opened fire on everyone in the office.
The following headline: "Death Street". The story was about a double killing on Yablochkov Street situated in Maryina Roscha (Grove) - an infamous Moscow district known for its criminal past. A 46 year-old driver at the Russian Foreign Ministry was stabbed to death at six in the morning at the entrance to his home and at 2 p.m. - the manager of a commercial company.
In the last 10 months 1993, 1,420 crimes were perpetrated against foreigners in the center of MOSCOW, and the statistics this year is up 30% but is not yet official. Of them 560 were serious. According to the main Board of the Moscow Interior Ministry, the most to suffer were citizens of Vietnam and China. 264 criminal acts were committed against them. They are followed by Germany - 105 crimes, USA - 66 crimes, Great Britain - 38.
The most common crime against foreigners is robbery - 668 cases in a "10 months period". Premeditated murder -16, grave bodily crimes -14, rape -3, robbery with violence -272, extortion -5.
In 1989 there where 0 kidnappings of foreigners in the center of Moscow, 1990-10, 1991-150, 1992-360, 1993-1.500, 1994 up to August 3.800.
This is a brief summary of the situation in Moscow today. (October 1994)
The Russian Mafia Controlling Russia
When people from western countries view Russia, all that they may see is an unbalanced nation with a bankrupt economy, and a failing government. Times in Russia seem to be often tumultuous, and it is looked at as amazing sometimes that life can continue to exist in such conditions. People do survive though; people are able to find a whole array of ways in which to make money and survive through dire conditions. The organized crime syndicate in Russia appears to be a true impairment to the Russian society as a whole from every conceivable angle. However, in actuality organized crime is one of the only stable sources of income for many people. In fact the Russian mafia and the corrupt government officials affiliated with organized crime, have for all practical purposes been in charge of running Russia throughout the 90's. Russia is being run by the mafia; the mafia is helping to supply millions of people with an extra income to help them survive.
"Over 10 million families now own their own apartments, and 40 million Russian's have plots of land. Despite falls of about 50 percent in real incomes" (Bush 58). If the real income has fallen of late in Russia, then how are these 50 million people
A surge in contract killings reminiscent of Russia’s mafia wars in the 1990s is threatening to damage Vladimir Putin’s legacy of stability in the dying days of his presidency.
Many of the mafia leaders who survived have gone straight too. Yekaterinburg is now littered with shopping malls, hotels and even juice bars owned by former Uralmash capos.
While soaring oil prices have largely driven Russia’s economic boom, businessmen say the end of the mafia wars has done much to allow ordinary entrepreneurs to make money without fear of losing it.
Experts estimate 30 per cent of the Russian economy is still in gangster hands. Most of these gangsters now work in local politics and even in the Kremlin itself and are still prone to using illegal methods to further their interests.
“Russia’s main problem, one that stops it from becoming a normal country, is that an unholy nexus of politics, big business and organised crime still dominates the ruling class,” said a western diplomat. It is a point that Nikolai, the Yekaterinburg businessman concedes — although he is more optimistic.
“Russia is not the wild east any more,” he said. “It hasn’t completed the transition to normal modern state yet. But maybe in the next generation when professionals manage the state rather than the ex-military, things will work out.”
RUSSIAN MAFIA Bibliography
BOOKS, (DOCUMENTS, REPORTS, ETC.)
BÄCKMAN, Johan. The inflation of crime in Russia: the social danger of the emerging markets. Organized Crime–Russia (Federation) - Criminal Justice, Administration of–Russia (Federation) - Organized Crime–Russia (Federation)–Saint Petersburg - Russia (Federation)–Social Conditions, 1991-….ISBN 9517042116; LC 98188067.
Criminal Russia: essays on crime in the Soviet Union. (Translated from the Russian by P. S. Falla). New York, N.Y., U.S.A.: Random House, ©1977. xi+240 p., bibliogr. p. 217-232, index, 22 cm.
Crime and Criminals–Soviet Union–History - Criminal Justice, Administration of–Soviet Union–History. ISBN 0394405986; LC 76053467.
HANDELMAN, Stephen. Comrade criminal: Russia’s new mafia. New Haven, Conn., U.S.A.: Yale University Press, ©1995. x+398 p., bibliogr. p. -389, index, 25 cm.
Organized Crime–Russia (Federation) - Political Corruption–Russia (Federation) - Post-Communism–Russia (Federation) - Russia (Federation)–Social Conditions, 1991-…. - Russia (Federation)–Politics and Government, 1991-…. ISBN 03000063520; LC 95002378.
WILLIAMS, Phil. [ed.]. Russian organized crime: the new threat? London, G.B.; Portland, Or., U.S.A.: F. Cass, ©1997. 270 p., bibliogr., 24 cm. Organized Crime–Russia (Federation) - Political Corruption–Russia (Federation) - Organized Crime–New York Metropolitan Area - Russian American Criminals–New York Metropolitan Area - Russia (Federation)–Social Conditions, 1991-…. ISBN 0714647632; 0714643122; LC 96030098.
JOURNAL ARTICLES, (PERIODICALS, NEWSPAPERS, ETC.)
DOUGLASS, Joseph D. Jr. “Organized Crime in Russia: Who’s Taking Whom to the Cleaners?” Conservative Review, 6:3 (May-June 1995), pp. 23-27.
DUNN, Guy M. “The Russian Mafia.” The World Today, 51:1 (January 1995), p. 20.
HANDELMAN, Stephen. “The Russian ‘Mafiya’.” Foreign Affairs, 73:2 (March 1, 1994), p. 83.
KRYSHTANOVSKAYA, Olga. “Russia’s Mafia Landscape: A Sociologist’s View.” Current Digest of the Post Soviet Press, 47 (October 1995), pp. 1-5.
LAMPERT, Nick. “Law and Order in the USSR: The Case of Economic and Official Crime.”Soviet Studies, 36 (July 1984), pp. 366-385.