2. Late 1980s – mid 1990s
2. Late 1980s – mid 1990s
Secondly late 80s until mid 90s was a period of the formation and shaping of the «persisting» organized crime. For instance, in 1990s in St. Petersburg there were four criminal communities of the mafia type (so-called Tambov's, Azerbaijan's, Chechen's, and Kazan's), some dozens of criminal associations (for example, Komarov's), and hundreds of criminal groups.
These were larger criminal organizations, concerning with racket, drug trafficking, the «protection» (racket) of small and middle-sized business, market trade, sex-business, theft and selling of cars, smuggling of non-ferrous metals across the border (through Estonia), control over gambling, production of and trafficking counterfeit hard liquor. Couterfeiting strong alcoholic drinks is a traditional criminal business. In 1990s it become possible to join with the legal strong drinks production. International brands such as vodka «Absolut», «French» cognac «Napoleon», «Italian» liquor «Ama-retto», and other appeared in commercial centres in large amounts. They were produced… in the city and in the area around it. The result of the international cooperation of criminals was that greater amounts of become that greater amount of adulterated strong drinks was produced, but afterwards counterfeited strong drinks were produced. But afterwards the authentic goods (atn corresponding prices) were on sale in Russia. These were imported from Poland, Hungary, Holland, and Germany.
The Center of Deviantology (Sociology of Deviance) of the Sociological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences has been involved in a criminological study into the black market, economy and organized crime since 1993. Business in St. Petersburg and other regions of Russia was divided among the criminal communities. Highly organized informational services enable them to track and monitor all the commercial structures, and the moment when a new commercial structure begins making a profit, it arouses the interest of criminal groups. As one businessman interviewed asserted: «100 % of commercial structures are embraced by racket… Racketeering penetrates all the enterprises except those of military-industrial complexes and some foreign firms». One officer of FSB (Federal Service Security) told me: «Criminal associations control about 90 % business».
There were two levels of racketeering: tribute money extracted from small kiosks and shops («black racket») and that obtained from commercial enterprises. In the latter case one can distinguish various indirect, disguised types of racket: payments for «guarding», for «service in the field of marketing» in compliance with the contract for «cooperation», or for «services» (for example, recovering debts). The «taking care» by the criminal organizations of commercial structures includes having their representatives on the administrative and managerial bodies.
Based on the information from our respondents, we are in a position to identify the typical situations where businessmen are forced to commit crimes.
One has to bribe in the following situations: when registering business; when renting premises from state bodies; when acquiring licenses for their utilization from state bodies; for obtaining low-interest bank credit; when reporting to tax inspectors; when completing customs formalities; etc.
One has to conceal revenues, since with the current taxation rate amounting to 80-85 %, one cannot survive the competition with other firms if one honestly reveals all revenues.
Most of the state-owned business enterprises operating under current conditions find themselves «under the protection» of bandits: they are «guarded» by some gang (band) against other gangs and have to pay «tribute» for that and render (obligatory) services. In particular, criminal organization includes their «representatives» on boards of directors, boards of business enterprises, organizations and banks. Thus legal and illegal business merges.
The rigid normative regulations in some kinds of economic activity and the absence of such regulations in other fields result in businessmen ignoring the law in some cases, and making their own «laws» in others. The synthesis of legal and illegal elements in the country's economy engenders such absurdities as fake goods and services.
Hi-tech crimes are connected with computer engineering, such as bank frauds, but new technologies are also used in such prosaic areas as the counterfeiting of alcoholic beverages, the manufacture of drugs, the theft of automobiles, or the development of new weapons. To some extent it is possible to show that new developments in the field of computer engineering initially pass through criminal structures. Growing attention is being given to attracting scientific staff (chemists, programmers, economists, and lawyers), who today are engaged in criminal business.
The narcotics business is one of the least visible, well-established forms of organized crime in Russia. The struggle against the narcotics mafia is complicated by widespread corruption within the law enforcement and power organizations and the political games Russia plays with the countries which export drugs (Azerbaijan, Chechnya, and the nations of Middle Asia).
Here are some fragments from the interviews of Dr. Yakov Kostjukovsky (the Center of Deviantology) with representatives of the criminal organizations about them activity.
I. (interviewer): What types of criminal business are most popular?
R. (respondent): I think only in 1994 half of the whole metal from Russia was illegally exported. And the other half was sold by official. This was good business! People earned in two-three months enough to last them until now. Truly it was hard work for 25 hours in the day. But the play was worth the candles. The difference in prices here and in Estonia, for instance, was enormous.
Theft and resale of cars is one of the kinds of criminal activity.
I.: Do you get in touch with foreigners?
R.: Yes, of course. We have joint business of cars. It is exchange.
I: Is it?
R.: Natural. Somebody drives car here, in St. Petersburg, and then the car goes to Holland, andsometimes from Holland here… Generally, it is a whole system in Germany, Poland, France, Hungary, Holland and Russia. It is good exchange! There is international contact.
Here are some specifics in the organization of gambling. In the city functioned «dens» («katran»), where clients play simple gambling games (card games, dice, backgammon, etc.). Gambling involves very big money. Half or more clients are representatives of the «criminal world». Another big part of this business is street gambling. There are «thimbles», «three cards», street raffles. Regardless of the rules of the game, the client never wins… Modern organizers of street raffles pay about 20 % of their revenues to their criminal group («krysha» – roof) and contractually pay a percent to PPS (patrol service of police). Casinos also join enters the gambling organization.
I.: What about gambling organizations?
R.: If we are talking about casino as a gambling organization… This is very fitting. I can invite a person who is interesting for me to the casino and he will win. He can win so much as I want. This whole situation is pure and beautifully – no bribes, no corruption. A person is lucky, no problems. It is possible to make a great amount of money through the casino without any control. Every time, when there is an action controlling the functioning of any casino (police control) it is possible to find breaches. It is possible to find law-breaking irregularities in all casinos. But who will check it if some governor assistant sits there? In general, it is a win-win situation…
The organization of prostitution is also speading. Some companies offering massage service, saunas, escort-firms, «call girls» operate in the city. Street prostitution has no clearly marked centers now; it is formed around stations, hotels. Hotel prostitution has existed from Soviet times till nowadays. All hotels of the city are divided between criminals groups. Criminal organizations deal in export of prostitutes across the border.
I.: What about the organization of prostitution?
R.: Prostitution in St. Petersburg is already an industry. And did not happen overnight. There are hundreds of «kontor» (illegal agencies of sex services). The business is more developed in Moscow… In our city the most expensive woman are in pubs, hotels and casinos. Then there are „call girls“, girls in saunas, girls in «centers of leisure». Also in… massage salons, make-up salons. Street girls are the cheapest…
I: And what about children's prostitution?
R.: Sure. This is very expensive. But there are too many drunkards, who are selling their own children. Then it is possible literally for a bottle of vodka too. And whenlf speak of prostitution in general, certainly, there is male prostitution and gay prostitution too. And males are higher in cost.
I: What can you say about «business trips»?
R.: Yes, it happens. Moreover, these girls are not always prostitutes. It can be a team of girls for striptease work, or working in service in general. But they are exported to, for example, Turkey and they are forced to work as prostitutes. They are lucky if they can escape. These stories usually end badly…
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