The Russian Mafia: Private Protection in a New Market Economy / Edition 1

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Overview

What is the Russian Mafia? This book thoroughly researches this question and challenges widely-held views. The author charts the emergence of the Russian Mafia in the context of the transition to the market, the privatization of protection, and pervasive corruption. The ability of the Russian State to define property rights and protect contracts is compared to the services offered by fragments of the state apparatus, private security firms, ethnic crime groups, the Cossacks, and the Mafia. Past criminal traditions, rituals and norms have been resuscitated by the Mafia of today to forge a powerful new identity and compete in a crowded market for protection. The book draws on reports of undercover police operations, in-depth interviews conducted over several years with the victims of the Mafia, criminals and officials, and documents from the Gulag archives. It also provides a comparative study, making references to other Mafia (the Japanese Yakuza, the Sicilian Cosa Nostra, American-Italian Mafia, and the Hong Kong Triads).
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Enlightening, perceptive and superbly researched. Essential reading for anybody seriously interested in the mind and heart of contemporary Russian criminal society."—John le Carré

"Headlines on Russian organized crime appear regularly in the Western Press and carry alarming messages [] Now we finally have a sober, scholarly account. Unlike headline writers, Varese is cautious about the use of the term 'Mafia'. [] The history of the vory-v-zakone is fascinating."—Alena Alena Ledeneva, Times Literary Supplement

"In his scholarly study, Varese systematically surveys the source of the problem, inventories the origins and resources of those groups providing protection, and then describes the way the relationship works. At the core of his book is an elaborate case study of the city of Perm, where he spent months working with police records, conducting interviews, and collecting newspaper stories." —Robert Legvold, Foreign Affairs

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780198297369
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 10/11/2001
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 6.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

1 The transition to the market 17
2 The state as supplier of protection 37
3 Varieties of protectors 55
4 Searching for protection 75
5 The contract and the services 102
6 The mafia in perm 123
7 Mafia ancestors : the vory-v-zakone, 1920s-1950s 145
8 The Russian mafia 167
App. A Aliases in the Soviet and Russian underworld 192
App. B The destination of the Soviet elite in perm 202
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2007

    Corruption piggybacks on capitalism as Russian entrepreneurs balance profits and protection from organized crime.

    Running a business in Russia is every bit as unsavory as you might imagine, according to Federico Varese's thoroughly researched look at that nation's organized (but not very organized) criminals. Even the lowliest shopkeeper faces shakedowns from drug addicts and teenage thugs, as well as bribe demands from tax collectors and police. In this chaotic climate, the protection racket thrives. Pay the right person, and not only will the shakedowns end ¿ you might even gain a business partner and a fishing buddy. But the penalties for making the wrong move can be severe. One shopkeeper who refused to pay up was burned to death in his store. Varese offers an intricately detailed look at the realities of the Russian Mafia. His excellent reporting is undermined only by his frequently academic writing style. We recommend this guide to those who are doing business in Russia or who hope to. Caveat entrepreneur.

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