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Rise of Russian Organized Crime

  • Date Submitted: 08/23/2010 02:43 PM
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Global Society, Vol. 17, No. 3, July, 2003

Review Article The Rise of Russian Organised Crime and Russian Kleptocracy

JOHANNA GRANVILLE

Robert I. Friedman, Red Mafia: How the Russian Mob has Invaded America (Boston: Little, Brown, 2000), 296 pp., ISBN: 0-316-29474-8 (hbk), $25.95. Paul Klebnikov, Godfather of the Kremlin: Boris Berezovsky and the Looting of Russia (New York: Harcourt, 2000), 400 pp., ISBN: 0-15-100621-0 (hbk), $28.00. James O. Finckenauer and Elin J. Waring, Russian Mafia in America: Immigration, Culture, and Crime (Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1998), 320 pp., ISBN: 1-55553-508-9 (pbk), $18.95. Chrystia Freeland, Sale of the Century: Russia’s Wild Ride from Communism to Capitalism (New York: Crown Publishers, 2000), 389 pp., ISBN: 0-8129-3215-3 (hbk), $27.50. Jeffrey Robinson, The Merger: The Conglomeration of International Organized Crime (Woodstock, NY: Overlook Press, 2000), 383 pp., ISBN: 1-58567-030-8 (hbk), $27.95. As the British prime minister Benjamin Disraeli once sourly remarked, ‘‘What we anticipate seldom occurs, and what we least expect generally happens.’’1 Russia watchers in the West expected the Russian economy to prosper like the Chinese economy once Boris Yeltsin, the first freely elected Russian president, cast off the communist mantle in 1991. Instead, he fostered the growth of crony capitalism, deliberately enriching a handful of men in return for their political support. Since Yeltsin’s resignation in 1999, journalists and scholars have begun to analyse his regime more frankly. This article will assess five books in particular. To the extent that Russia now has free speech and democratic accountability, these principles were established by Gorbachev; Yeltsin failed to expand the aims of glasnost and perestroika. The ‘‘democrats’’ led by Yegor Gaidar and
1. Benjamin Disraeli, Coningsby, or the New Generation (London: J. Lehmann, 1948), p. 312. ISSN 1360-0826 print/ISSN 1469-798X online/03/030323-08 © 2003...

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