Communism, Vodka, May Be Vladimir Term Paper

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[. . .] " FBI Director identified the Russian criminal gangs as "the greatest long-term threat to the security of the United States"

As Russia is a member of world trading community and represents a huge market for different goods, so situation in the country, both in the sphere of politics and economics is a subject of serious and careful attention of major world countries. The problem of high rate of organized crime in Russia is a matter of concern of many countries, and of the U.S. In particular.

According to the reports of FBI: "by 1995 the Russian Mafia had taken control over 70-80% of all Russian commercial enterprises'Russian organized crime is infiltrating practically any type of business activit ... Russian organized crime is predatory, it will feed on the successes of any business, perhaps destroying any chance of legitimate success in the process."

According to the opinion of European and American sociologists, such spread of criminalization is caused by the low morality and absence of religious beliefs in Russian society for more than seventy years. During this period there have grown three generations for whom religion, moral principles and the sense of dignity were nothing more than simple words. After such prolonged period of new morality of atheism, thieving had become a way of life, a part of national mentality. It's not a stereotype it's a well-known and proved fact. The whole system of power in Russia was corrupted: starting from a simple clerk and ending with president Yeltsin. "These are dangerous people, They appear free of conscience and morals " - these are the words of Michael Gorbachev about Yeltsin's administration, said in December, 1996.

According to the article "Mafiocracy in Russia" written by former successful Russian businessman, Alexander Khonanihin,: "The corrupt Russian government also tends to expel any non-corrupt official, because: an official not implicated in the corrupt practices is viewed as potential danger by his corrupt colleagues and superiors, whereas an accomplice in corruption is not likely to testify about the corrupt practices. Immunity from corruption charges is an important consideration for Russian officials: the system once in a while chooses some officials - scapegoats for public prosecution - to ease the public outcry and social tension; an official not implicated in corruption is considered by corrupt Russian government officials as "foreign" and suspicious, in the same way as the Russian drunks would treat a single teetotaller at the table. Such eccentrics are forced out for psychological comfort of the rest, if for nothing else; by replacing a non-corrupt official with a corrupt one, the decision-maker receives a significant bribe and/or ongoing payments from the appointee, who considers these payments to be the "business cost" of the possibility to extract illegal profit. Attempts to become a non-corrupt loner in a completely corrupt government do not occur often in Russia, because: they are doomed; they would endure the official to surviving on his official salary of $100-250/month; in the country, where seventy years of the Communist rule have virtually destroyed all moral and religious restrains and made the thievery somewhat of a national sport, there are not many people willing to try to take extreme hardship of hopeless war with the corrupt practices. Such a war would not be appreciated or believed in by others; most of the Russian bureaucrats had served as officials for the Communist government, for which corruption, as it is well-known, was modus operandi." (from Mafiocracy in Russia)

If one thinks that activity of Russian mafia is limited to the sphere of finance he would be deeply mistaken. Starting from the year of 1993, the year of first ethnical local conflicts on the territory of broken Empire, there appeared a new type of business both for organized crime groups and government: weapon trade. Military officials (starting from officers and ending by generals in the ministry of defense and FSB (federal security service, or reorganized KGB) in Kremlin) were involved in weapon trade with their enemies. Trade schemes were realized by "third persons"- criminals, who delivered weapons from military bases to fighting groups in Caucasus, mainly Chechnya.

It's also important to make a serious note about Chechnya, a dark spot in the history of modern Russian history. I won't touch the nature of war, its character and outcomes. Chechnya had become the mirror of Russia's weak centralized power of Yeltsin's presidency. Since 1992, Moscow had no control over the republic. Chechnya was a realization of a criminal state, where power was in hands of criminal clans who wanted to establish an Islam republic. International airport of Chechnya was not controlled at all, and it was used as buffer zone for drugs (from Turkey, Afghanistan, Iran, and Columbia) and weapon (to Middle East countries). Cocaine and 50% of heroine on Russian drug market came from Chechnya. Kidnapping and slave-trade became a common practice in the country before the 10-year long civil war started. It's hard even to imagine that it took place in the 20th century, in the country that lived peaceful, civilized life. Chechnya remains to be an epicenter of many political, military and economical problems of Russian government, where remote territories are controlled by separatists.

Some facts from Russian official crime statistics:

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

Number of crimes committed by organized crime groups

18,619

23,820

26,433

28,497

28,688

32,858

Number of organized crime groups members (official statistics)

17,390

20,653

17,927

16,100

16,037

17,557

Number of crimes related to drug-dealing

12,604

11,448

19,982

24,168

31,800

41,121

Number of revealed drug-dens

1992:6600 crimes referred to illegal import of strategic materials. Money confiscated: 760 million rubles (~600 million dollars), 112 million USD. Illegal drugs trade: 50-60 billion rubles (~100 million USD).

1993:4300 violations in financing and banking system; Illegal drugs trade: 170-200 billion rubles (~400 million USD)

1994: confiscated precious metals and stones: 6 kg of platinum, 206 kg of gold, 1500 kg of silver, 225000 carat of diamonds, 1 million USD.

Contraband: 1500 facts; 50 fake firms for illegal export cover; illegal export of strategic materials: 200 million USD.

1995: confiscated 1267 tons of colored metals, 50 tons of drugs

1996: confiscated 1586 tons of colored metals, 43.5 tons or drugs

1997: confiscated 4154 tons of colored metals, 49.6 tons of drugs

For more than 10 years Russia remains to be the leader in slave-trading industry in Europe: every year more than 50,000 girls (age16-27) are exported to Western Europe and Middle East for sex industry.

(from Gilinskiy, Y Organized Crime in Russia: Theory and Practice)

Russian mafia abroad

The most widely discussed case, related to Russian mafia in the U.S.A. was the arrest of the New York's head of Russian criminal clan Vyacheslav Ivankov (known as "Yaponchik" or "Japanese boy"). As writes in the article Mafia invades New York

'When the Russian mafia began to move into the United States it chose Vyacheslav Ivankov, known as Yaponchik or "Little Japanese," to head its New York operation.

He was convicted in November 1997 in a £3.5m ($5.9m) extortion case.

Louis Freeh, head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), said: "In 10 or 20 years Ivankov would have been a very, very dangerous criminal leader, not just in the United States but worldwide." The FBI believes his place as head of the Russian mafia in America has already been filled. It will take more than one court case to stop the Russian mafia's worldwide expansion."( from BBC NEWS)

Another well-known criminal figure, Alimjan Taktakhunov (known as "Taiwanchik" or "Taiwan boy") was arrested in 2002 in France. He is considered to have a direct relation to the Olympic figure skating scandal in Salt Lake City. By the opinion of Interpol representatives, Taktakhunov bribed French judges in order to make Russian couple win gold medals. Taktakhunov is known as sports sponsor, and by the means of such venture he wanted to gain the favor of French officials, for getting French citizenship.

Lots of facts witness about the ties of Russian mafia with international criminal groups. They include cooperation in drug dealing, slave-trade, and financial cooperation. It's enough to mention that funeral of one of criminal figures (Misha Tchirik) in Donetsk, Ukraine (100 miles from border with Russia) was attended by more than 200 foreign guests from Sicily, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Amsterdam, etc.

Conclusion

In the end of 1990 ies it was concluded that organized crime in Russia had become a developed social institution. State machine has lost most of tools and mechanisms of social control. Vacuum that was formed by the weakness of state power was filled by alternative systems of control: organized crime, oligarchy, corrupted bureaucracy. As the number of businessmen who are involved in construction of economical and political system of the country is growing, so criminalization is penetrating into business, economics and politics. Organized crime is no more a confederation of criminals and extortionists; it's a union of bureaucrats and criminalized businessmen.

Besides paying legal taxes, fees and other… [end of preview; READ MORE]

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