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Criminal Kaleidoscope: The Diversification and Adaptation of Criminal Activities in the Soviet Successor States

NCJ Number
European Journal of Crime, Criminal Law and Criminal Justice Volume: 4 Issue: 3 Dated: (1996) Pages: 243-256
L Shelley
Date Published
14 pages
This analysis of organized crime in Russia and the other successor countries of the Soviet Union concludes that organized crime groups are both diverse and flexible and that the Soviet period's legacy and policy decisions of Russia's Gorbachev and Yeltsin governments and the other governments have strongly influenced the current situation.
Almost all countries of the former Soviet Union have extortion rackets, casinos, prostitution rings, and illegal drug trafficking, but in certain regions particular crimes predominate. The endemic corruption and shadow economy of the Soviet period are now being transformed into the contemporary problems of organized crime and corruption. Contrary to the conventional wisdom, the diversification and flexibility of the current crime groups suggests that organized crime will not rapidly disappear after the initial transition period. The inability and unwillingness of many successor countries to address the organized crime problem may permit its unimpeded development in coming decades. The current passivity against the increasing power and entrenchment of organized crime may usher in a new form of authoritarianism with severe long-term consequences for the citizenry. Footnotes