Russian Organized Crime
1) Please review and analyze the noted link on Russian Organized Crime (SEE LINK BELOW). (youtube video is titled The Russian Mafia- Organized Crime History Documentary 44min 9sec)
Please also read chapter (Ch. 6) Organized Crime 11th Ed. By Howard Abadinsky.
2) Please submit a 3-page report on your understanding of Russian gangs addressing the following:
Explain some of the similarities between Russian organized crime and the Mafia. Also, explain some of the global businesses that Russian organized crime may be involved in.
If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me at any time day or night.
According to the Real Documentaries (2016), organized crime has been a common practice in Russia since the time of Imperial Russia, where it existed in the form of thievery, pornography, and banditry. During the Soviet period, there was the emergence of organized gangs like the Vory v zakone, which translates to thieves in law. This gang had to respect or abide by some specific rules while in the Russian prison system. For instance, they were forbidden from cooperating with authorities on any engagement. However, at the time of World War II, some of the prisoners engaged the Russian government, where they made a deal to join the army where they would receive a reduced sentence in return. Unfortunately, when they returned to prison, other inmates who had stayed loyal to these rules attacked and killed them (Real Documentaries, 2016). This incident highlights the level of organizations that early criminal gangs operated in Russia.
At the fall of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, CosmoLearning (2011) suggest that criminal organizations found a breakthrough in their activities during the economic crisis that ensued. With desperation for money clipping in, many former government employees resulted in crime with other joining former soviet citizens in moving abroad, with the Russian Mafia becoming a natural extension of this movement. During these hard economic times, sportsmen, former KGB agents, and Veterans of different wars in Chechen and Afghan found themselves jobless but very experienced in areas that could easily be utilized in crime (CosmoLearning, 2011). As a consequence, such personnel became part of the new group that was embracing crime as a source of living. With growing poverty, corruption, and distrust for authorities, organized crime gained root in Russia (CosmoLearning, 2011). As a result, there were increased cases of kidnappings, Bombings, and contract killings, while most murders remained unresolved.
The new breed of criminals in Russia now adopted a more businesslike and westernized approach to organizing their crimes with approaches used by gangs like the Vory v zakone fading away. As the former Soviet Bloc’s began opening up to the world, alongside the internationalization of the economy, the Russian Mafia gained connections to other organized criminals across the globe such as the Sicilian Cosa Nostra, the Chinese Triads and the Latin American drug cartels (CosmoLearning, 2011). With the breakup of the Soviet Union, a lot of arms were smuggled into the world’s black market. These arms included anti-aircraft guns, tactical assault weapons, Missiles, and helicopters, among others, which were usually sold to the highest bidders (CosmoLearning, 2011).
The Similarities between Russian Organized Crime and the Mafia
The Russian organized crime has numerous similarities with the 1990s US Sicilian mafia. For instance, the Russian organized crime, like the US mafia combined visible crimes at the street levels like drug smuggling and human trafficking with the white collar and less visible crimes like counterfeiting of goods, tax evasion which occurred on an industrial scale, among others (Real Documentaries, 2016). These similarities made it easy for the Russian criminal groups to integrate easily into the American organized crime culture once some of them relocated to the US.
The main difference between the Russian organized crime and the Mafia is the fact that the Russians enjoyed a lot of state protection while the Mafia didn’t. In Russia and other former Soviet Union countries, there no significant business that can take place without the knowledge or approval of the government, which implies that Russian organized criminal gangs are accorded state protection, but the US mafia don’t enjoy this kind of protection.
Global Businesses that Russian Organized Crime may be involved in
The unique factor about Russian organized crime is the fact that it operates at several levels and almost everywhere. In other words, Russian organized is spread across the globe from Europe to North America, Asia, and the Middle East, and it is involved in different business crimes. Russia organized crime is involved in human trafficking, mainly prostitution, as well as cigarette smuggling and advanced money laundering that is undertaken through various corporate bank accounts (Abadinsky, 2007). For example, Abadinsky notes that in Germany, Russia organized crime has been involved in prostitution and car theft with the stolen cars being smuggled out of Europe. In countries like Portugal and Spain, Russia organized crime can be seen in the street-level robbery. At the same time, credit card theft also takes place alongside advanced money laundering disguised as property purchases and operation of night clubs and bars (Abadinsky, 2007). In places like South America, Abadinsky (2007) adds that Russia organized crime is heavily involved in cocaine trafficking while in the United States they are involved in many different crimes such as human trafficking, cigarette smuggling which is done on a large scale and complex bank transactions which involves collusion with some corrupt staff and companies. As such, we can conclude that Russian organized crime is involved in different businesses across the globe.
Abadinsky, H. (2007). Organized crime. Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth.
CosmoLearning. (2011). The World History of Organized Crime: Russia: CosmoLearning History. Retrieved from https://cosmolearning.org/documentaries/the-world-history-of-organized-crime-russia-930/
Real Documentaries. (2016). The Russian Mafia – Organized Crime History Documentary. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfL2dfidNCE&feature=youtu.be