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

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Challenging widely held views, this book presents a thorough account of the Russian Mafia. It charts the emergence of the group in the context of the transition to the market, the privatization of protection, and pervasive corruption. It includes 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, such as the Japanese Yakuza, the Sicilian Cosa Nostra, and the American-Italian Mafia.

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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: 9780199279494
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 4/7/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 6.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Table of Contents

I. The Transition to the Market and Protection in Russia
1. The Transition to the Market
2. The State as Supplier of Protection
3. Varieties of Protectors
II. Private Protection in Perm
4. Searching for Protection
5. The Contract and the Serices
III. The Russian Mafia
6. The Mafia in Perm
7. Mafia Ancestors: The vory-v-zakone, 1920s-1950s
8. The Rusian Mafia
List of Respondents and Interview Content

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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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