Term Paper: Past Present and Future of Eurasian Organized Crime in the United States

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¶ … Future of Eurasian Organized Crime in the United States

As the world's economic and information infrastructure becomes globalized, a new organized elite criminal group is being shaped. Organized crime groups are not disappearing but instead are adapting and shifting in order to make necessary adjustments as the economic and regional transformations of the globe develop. It has been predicted by law enforcement "...illegal schemes will become increasingly far-reaching - both geographically and otherwise - and that criminals, more of whom seem to enjoy some measure of government protection, will become better able to cover their tracks with a bewildering array of shell companies and legal entitles established as front companies for transnational criminal activities." (Kupchinsky, 2005) According to Kupchinsky, "Russian organized crime gangs are expected to network with their Asian counterparts and from Eurasian criminal groupings." (2005) Kupchinsky states:."..even the term 'organized crime' is rapidly being replaced by 'organized global crime'." (2005) Because organized crime is so very global in nature in order to understand the history of Eurasian Organized Crime (EOC) in the United States in terms of its past, present and future, investigation, research and study must be undertaken nationally, regionally, and also transnationally. The following research therefore undertakes an extensive review of literature in this subject area of Eurasian Organized Crime and follows its trail to the United States and the crime that have been - are- and will likely be committed in the United States if this complex and serious problem is not properly addressed proactively.

Research of Eurasian Organized Crime in the United States has informed this study that these crime groups are comprised of individuals many of whom were previously hardcore criminals in hierarchically gang-based prison systems in the former Soviet Union. Within the prison system, as corrupt as the economic system in Russia during Soviet rule was a set of mafia-based rules for operation and this included organized crime-affiliation between prisoners, jailors and organized crime bosses both inside and outside the prison system. A stint in prison was for the low-level criminals simply a means of gaining higher education into the perpetration of fraud, money laundering, trafficking and prostitution of people, among other heinous crimes, which these groups commit. At the time the Soviet rule fell this work will show that many hardcore criminals freed from the prison-system, put aboard ships to the United States and arrived to begin anew cleverly defrauding both government and citizen in the United States. Moreover, these criminal groups branched out making contacts with other criminals and other crime syndicates located from shore to shore in key cities of the United States.

BACKGROUND of the PROBLEM

Organized Eurasian crime in the United States began in the 1970s upon the arrival of a significant number of Soviet immigrants arrived in the United States. Most of those who entered the United States during this period were Soviet Jews who had fled from religious persecution and others were political dissidents. According to Grand D. Ashley, Assistant Director of the Criminal Investigative Division of the FBI, in his testimony before the Subcommittee on European Affairs and the Committee on Foreign Relations in the United States Senate on October 30, 2003. Within these arrivals into the United States "...a very small cadre of criminals" existing while others in the group were law abiding and hardworking individuals. In 1991, the dissolution of the Soviet Union resulted in another wave of immigrants arriving in the United States "with thousands of emigres taking advantage of the lifting of travel restrictions to flee dismal economic conditions in the former Soviet Union. While the vast majority of these individuals in this wave were also hardworking and law-abiding, this exodus resulted in an increased presence in the United States of both domestic and foreign-based Eurasian organized crime enterprises. This emergence of foreign-based Eurasian organized crime enterprises following the advent of capitalism and privatization in the former Soviet Union after 1991 has changed the scope of the threat posed by Eurasian organized crime enterprise from a localized problem to one of international proportions." (Ashley, 2003) Eurasian organized crime emerged in the 1990s as a national and global threat.

DEFINITION of TERMS

Organized Crime (the United States) - a self-perpetuating, structured, and disciplined association of individuals or groups combined together for the purpose of obtaining monetary or commercial gains or profits wholly or in part by illegal means, while protecting their activities through a pattern of graft and corruption."

Eurasian Organized Crime - This is the term applied by the FBI to the phenomenon of organized crime associated with person originating from Russia, eastern and central European countries, as well as the other independent states created following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Most members of Eurasian organized crime groups in the United States originated in the territories of the former Soviet Union, particularly in Russia, the Ukraine and to a lesser degree from the Baltic states, principally Lithuania and Latvia.

LITERATURE REVIEW

The Russian Organized Crime Task Force has stated conclusions that "in the absence of significant reforms, the Russian Federation itself is likely to become a full-blown criminal-syndicalist state." (Russian Organized Crime, nd) the task force relates that such a state is of the composition, characteristics and interactive nature as follows: (1) corrupt officials at all levels throughout the government bureaucracy, from minister to tax collector to low-level factotum; (2) successful, full-time professional criminals; and (3) businessmen for whom existing Russian law - and Western norms of commerce - are simply obstacles to be overcome in one way or another. (Russian Organized Crime, nd) Russia is stated to have been characterized historically by overabundance of crime in the metropolitan areas however, during the period of Soviet rule these factions of crime were hidden and repressed within the country rules by a totalitarian regime. In the early 1980s organized criminal activity become easier to see during what was a period of social, political and economic reform and in this period of high criminal activity grew quickly and became an easy way to obtain money quickly for many people. Diminished standards of living during this period in post-Cold War Russian simply exacerbated the problem of increasing organized crime. The ending of the Cold War "have given birth to the 'new Russians' entrepreneurs who have flourished in the reform atmosphere." (Russian Organized Crime, nd) the task force relates: "The lingering Soviet mindset among many Russians has allowed ROC to exist and flourish. Many Russians do not view certain practices generally considered illegal in the West (such as stealing from one's place of employment) as crimes." (Russian Organized Crime, nd) Another problem is that many people in Russia hold the belief that laws are made only to be broken and the consequences is that very little in the way of moral incentives for living within the law exist in Russia. Lack of legal foundation for commerce in Russia further exacerbates the problem.

Groups of Eurasian Organized Crime Identified

Vory v Zadone (Thieves-in-law)

The task force reports that today's organized crime in Russia arose from four primary sources of criminality. The first is the historical Russian criminal elite known as the Vory v zakone, which is a group, comprised of common criminals predating the Soviet era, which saw even further development in the Soviet prison system. Basic requirements for membership in this group were that these individuals could not: (1) have a legitimate job; (2) cooperate with law enforcement; (3) give testimony in court; (4) have a family; and (5) serve in the military.

Nomenklatura second source of organized crime in Russia is a group comprised of corrupt members of the Communist Party, government officials, and business figures known as the 'nomenklatura'. This specific group are still in place and still continue to perpetuate the corruption and criminality in Russia.

Ethnic and National Groups

Comprising the third group of organized crime are the ethnic and national groups including the Chechens, Armenians, Azerbaijanis, Dagestanis, Georgians, and Ingush, who are active in Russian and throughout Central Eurasia and outside the Commonwealth of Independent States as well. This is the most violent of all the criminal groups.

Avtorieti (Authorities)

The fourth and largest organized crime groups is comprised by criminal associations which are based on maintaining control of geographical sectors or a specific activity of organized crime and even on share experiences. These groups are considered to be gangs and are called the 'avtoriteti', which means 'authorities'. The task force states that it is important to note that these organized crime groups are not ethnically-based and that the U.S. government does not have a good understanding of these groups. This problem is not unique however to the post-Cold War period but in actually was ongoing during the period between 1917 and 1991 in Russia. Stated to be the real breeding ground for the surging criminality in contemporary Russia was "74 years of the indulgence of quack economics wedding to totalitarian politics..." (Russian Organized Crime, nd)

Identified by FBI as Threat in the U.S. (Present and… [END OF PREVIEW]

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