Comrade Criminal: Russias New Mafiya

Stephen Handelman, Author
Stephen Handelman, Author Yale University Press $60 (408p) ISBN 978-0-300-06352-3
Reviewed on: 04/03/1995
Release date: 04/01/1995
Paperback - 408 pages - 978-0-300-06386-8
Hardcover - 400 pages - 978-0-585-37166-5
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In an alarming analysis of Russia's plunge into criminality since Gorbachev's ouster in 1991, Toronto Star foreign correspondent Handelman reports that organized crime has expanded into all areas of the post-Soviet economy. Criminal cartels control banks, stock exchanges, hotels, stores, restaurants and commercial enterprises; gangsters have transformed themselves into industrial managers; mobsters terrorize courts; and black-market crime bosses have found an ally in the ex-communist bureaucracy, forging political alliances to sabotage the reforms of perestroika. Bribery and extortion have become ubiquitous, and Handelman believes that the widespread poverty and unemployment caused by the precipitous leap into capitalism has abetted the current epidemic of murder, robbery, gangs and other lawlessness. Noting that the Russian mafia poses a danger to the West, he advocates opening Western markets to Russian goods and working closely with Russia's police to stem the criminal tide. The author interviewed dozens of Rus-sian criminals, high and low, for this trenchant investigation. (June)
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