III. Organized Crime in Russia
III. Organized Crime in Russia
There are many definitions of organized crime (Abadinsky 1994, Alba-nese 1995, Arlacchi 1986, Block 1994, Smith 1975 and others). We will use the definition of organized crime as the functioning of stable, hierarchical associations, engaged in crime as a form of business, and setting up a system of protection against public control by means of corruption.
Organized crime is a form of business enterprise. Gary Becker, Nobel Prize winner in Economics, speaks about this in the following way: «Criminal activity is just the same profession or trade as joinery, engineering or teaching which people devote their time to» (Becker 1987). It is chosen when profit (the revenues minus the production costs) exceeds that which legal can be made by persuing a legal occupation.
Are we always in a position to draw a distinction between legal and criminal businesses abiding by the criteria of morality and legality? In Russia, it is hardly possible.
Organized crime is not only the «sum of criminal organizations». It is a complicated social phenomenon, which has influence on the economy and policy of states. Criminal associations are a kind of social organization of a „working (labor) collective body“ type. The growth of the organizational aspect of crime is a natural, objective process; it is a manifestation of the growth of the organizational aspect of social systems as well as of their sub-systems (the economy, politics, etc.). It is a global, worldwide process.
Criminal business arises, exists and develops under certain conditions:
• demand for illegal goods (drugs, arms, etc.) and services (sexual, etc.);
• unsatisfied demand for legal goods and services (for example, total «deficit» in USSR);
• unemployment and others sources of social exclusion as social base of deviance, including criminality (Finer & Nellis, 1998; Kanfler, 1965; Lenoir, 1974; Paugam, 1996; Young, 1999);
• defective of tax-policy, customs policy of state, etc.
A criminal organization (syndicate) building up a system of organized crime (industry) is defined by the following key characteristics:
• a stable association of people, designed for long-term activity;
• criminal nature of the activity (financial pursuits dependent on criminal activity);
• deriving maximum profits as the key goal of the activity;
• complex hierarchical structure of the organization with its functions delimitated;
• the corruption of political bodies and law-enforcement bodies as the main means of the criminal activity;
• aspiration to monopolizing a certain type of trade or on a certain territory. The high degree of adaptability of criminal associations (resulting from their strict labor discipline, their careful selection of staff, the high profits, etc.) ensures their great vital capacity («the Mafia is immortal!»). For example, Russian criminal organizations recruit only the youngest, bravest and the most enterprising people.
We can see the trend of the official data about organized crime in Russia (Table 3).
Table 3. Date for crime of criminal organization (2003-2009) (http://www.mvd.ru/stats/)
We can see such main trends: the increase of some factors of organized crime before 2008 and the reduction in 2008, 2009, which has continued also in 2010.
Certainly, we can not completely rely on the official statistics. However, the changes observed in these indicators in Russia as well as in other countries may be indicative of a quantitative reduction of all parameters of criminality during a period of economic and financial crisis. This requires the special studies. But greatly qualitative features of organized crime have also changed greatly.
The following short summary of the history of Russian organized crime can help to understand the contemporary situation (Gilinskiy, 1997; Gilinskiy, 1998; Gilinskiy, 2002; Gilinskiy, 2006, Gilinskiy & Kostjukovsky, 2004). There are several periods of Russian organized crime.
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