Because moving to the market opens the door to so many temptations, corruption and Mafia-like crime are hard to avoid. Much to our chagrin, even the United States, Germany and Japan have discovered they are not immune. But as serious as the problem has been in the West, in Russia it has been even more so. What follows is an attempt to explain the economic factors underlying the endemic spread in post-communist Russia of these social maladies. It is not that the Soviet era was free of crime and corruption, but that both have subsequently become so blatant and all-encompassing. As Stephen Handelman in his book on the Russian Mafia so ably demonstrates, criminal groups long predate the Gorbachev era.1 In fact for a time in the late 1970s to early 1980s, crime, and by extension corruption, seemed to pervade Soviet society. Under Leonid Brezhnev, communist morality all but disappeared. It did not help that Brezhnev’s daughter was having an affair with a circus clown who was also a diamond smuggler while her husband, Yuri Churbanov, Deputy Head of the national police, was on the payroll of the Uzbek Mafia.2 Even more amazing, the head of the Uzbek criminal organization paying Churbanov was Sharaf Rashidev, who in his day job was the Secretary, or leader, of the Uzbek Communist Party. No wonder few of the efforts to attack crime in the waning days of the communist era were successful.