The drug trade has become one of Russia’s most significant problems at the beginning of the twenty-first century, affecting many regions of the country and generating large profits for drug traffickers. Even though drug traders operated illicitly in the Soviet Union as early as the 1960s, the rapid rise of narcotics trafficking marks a significant evolution in the workings of Russian crime. In the early 1990s, organized crime groups focused primarily on extracting profits from the legal economy, making Russian crime patterns relatively distinctive from those of other regions in the world. In recent years, Russian organized crime activities have begun to more closely resemble typical global patterns, in which drugs make up a central part of crime group profits.