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The Emerging Criminal State: Economic and Political Aspects

Organized Crime in Russia YURIY A. VORONIN

Organized crime fighting in Russia is more than a matter of law enforcement: the political, economic, and human rights dimensions are central. Many of the criminal groups have organized themselves into loose criminal confederations, perpetrating crimes such as extortion, drug dealing, bank fraud, arms trafficking, export of contraband oil and metals, and smuggling of radioactive materials and components. About 20,000 crimes connected with corruption are recorded in Russia every year. Corruption has taken particular hold in spheres of the economy as the export import sector, involving commodities such as oil. Organized crime and corruption are the price that must be paid for Russia's experiment with free enterprise. The distinctive feature of contemporary Russian organized crime is its inseparable connection with phenomena of past Soviet life, especially the shadow economy. Most new Russian capitalists operate mainly in the so-called gray zone that exists between the underworld and the official world.