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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 136250 Find in a Library
Title: Soviet Mafia
Author(s): A Vaksberg
Date Published: 1991
Page Count: 285
Sponsoring Agency: St Martin's Press
New York, NY 10010
Publication Number: ISBN 0-312-07135-3
Sale Source: St Martin's Press
Scholarly & Reference Division
175 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10010
United States of America
Type: Historical Overview
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This book by a Soviet journalist documents a network of corruption and crime among public officials and political leaders in the Soviet Union from the 1960's to the Gorbachev years.
Abstract: The author refers to this network as the "mafia," not because of any historic or organizational ties to this organized-crime group, but because the Soviet organized crime network has a similar structure, goals, and methods. Within the Soviet mafia, the power held by an individual roughly parallels party and political power. The mafia has been growing since the 60's, spawned by the system of political privilege established under Stalin. It reaches from the lowliest ranks of society into the highest echelons of party and State. Brezhnev himself was a willing accomplice in its workings. Members have used their political and official power to amass personal fortunes and expand the influence of the group. Monies are obtained through bribes for services and through a black market economy whereby the political leaders channel the goods produced by the people to lucrative markets patronized by privileged people. This has had the effect of depriving the general populace of adequate goods and services while the wealthy are enriched and pampered. The mafia and its operations are protected and concealed through the machinery of the State, particularly the justice and security powers. Arrest, imprisonment, public "smearing," and even murder are standard tactics against the mafia's enemies. Although particular members of the mafia may have fallen from power, the network continues on with new personnel who have risen through its ranks. Under the new forces of democratization and a free market, the mafia can be expected to use its considerable capital to try and control political and economic developments for its own purposes. Subject index
Main Term(s): Corruption of public officials
Index Term(s): Abuse of authority; Bribery; Crime in foreign countries; Organized crime; Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR); White collar crime
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