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Russia: Organized Crime and Politics- How Serious an Issue?

In: Historical Events

Submitted By mxg371
Words 1239
Pages 5
Background: Since the late 1980’s the Russian people have experienced one of the most drastic transitions seen in the world to date, a transition from an attempt at communism to a workable capitalist system. As one would expect, this transition has not been painless and has been the impetus of many distressing problems for the Russian people. One such problem is organized crime. Organized crime during Soviet rule and the Russian Federation has created obstacles in this transition to a functioning market economy. This transition from the USSR to the Russian Federation has impaired Russia’s attempts at a market economy. It has worked its way through openings provided by the transition economy to become a setback to the Russian society and economy. Organized crime disables successful economic reform by influencing important issues such as competition, entrepreneurship, capital flight, the shadow economy, and violence.
The major roots of organized crime in Russia go back to the middle of the twenty century. As early as the 1970’s, the Russian mafia had advanced to the status of primary protectors and beneficiaries in the robust Soviet shadow economy. By 1991, organized crime had expanded to form over 700 gangs in the Russian republic alone. This expansion was aided by Perestroika’s, a political movement within the Communist Party, opening up of market opportunities. In Leningrad, as much as ninety percent of the cooperatives produced by the liberal policies of Perestroika were deeply involved with organized crime.
Specifically, two characteristics of the USSR were integral in the development of a powerful organized crime syndicate. These were an excessive bureaucratic power and the presence of illegal markets. This excessive bureaucratic power facilitated organized crime by providing a basis for corruption, bribery, shakedowns, and extortion. According to the

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