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Russian Organized Crime in Russia and the United States (From Policing in Central and Eastern Europe: Ethics, Integrity, and Human Rights, P 359-367, 2000, Milan Pagon, ed. -- See NCJ-206270)

NCJ Number
Sergei Paromchik; William Blount; Ira Silverman
Date Published
9 pages
This paper reviews the history of organized crime in Russia and its contemporary manifestations in Russia as well as among Russian immigrants in the United States.
Prior to the 1917 communist revolution in Russia, criminal societies known as "artels" thrived. They were governed by "thieves in law," who were acknowledged authoritative leaders in control of the criminal tribe's exploitation of all persons and groups not belonging to the artel. Organized criminal enterprises that are not subject to state law and that seek to exploit political and economic milieus for their own interests have persisted in Russia to the present day. Currently, Russia is permeated with powerful organized entities that seek to dominate and monopolize economic markets through the corruption of public officials and the infiltration of politics and legitimate businesses. Violence is a common means of eliminating those who obstruct their goals. According to the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, approximately 200,000 Soviet citizens, some of them Russian-Jewish refugees, immigrated to the United States during the 1970's and 1980's. Some scholars believe they were hardcore criminals turned out of Russian prisons. By 1984 there were 30,000 new Russian immigrants living in the Brighton Beach area of New York. This paper profiles some of their criminal leaders. Some came to America schooled in crime as one of the core ingredients of surviving and thriving. Russian organized crime groups currently operate in the majority of U.S. States. In addition to traditional organized-crime enterprises of extortion, drug trafficking, prostitution, auto theft, money laundering, loansharking, and medical insurance fraud, Russian organized crime figures have become involved in a much more ominous activity, the smuggling of nuclear materials, possibly to terrorists or rogue nations. Due to its distinctive qualities, Russian organized crime requires special attention and techniques of law enforcement. American law enforcement agencies must train special investigative units in Russian psychology, customs and traditions, and language. 13 references