chapter
27 Pages

Introduction: How Serious a Threat is Russian Organized Crime?

PHIL WILLIAMS

This chapter explores the assessments of the seriousness of the challenge from Russian organized crime that diverges remarkably. At one end of the spectrum are those who consider Russian organized crime as a dangerous successor to the threat posed to Western values and Western societies by the Soviet Union. At the other end of the spectrum are those who not only believe as threat from Russian organized crime is greatly exaggerated in many Russian and Western commentaries, but also argue that, in present circumstances, organized crime has certain positive functions in Russian society and the economy. The best case assessment of Russian organized crime is more difficult to crystallize than the worst case analysis. Even with all the opportunities and the incentives and pressures, however, Russian organized crime have attained its current levels had certain kinds of resources and capabilities. The Russian banking system faces many problems that have little or nothing to do with organized crime and drug trafficking.