Red Mafiya: How the Russian Mob Has Invaded America

Robert I. Friedman, Author
Robert I. Friedman, Author Little Brown and Company $25.45 (288p) ISBN 978-0-316-29474-4
Reviewed on: 05/01/2000
Release date: 05/01/2000
Mass Market Paperbound - 288 pages - 978-0-425-18687-9
Open Ebook - 978-0-316-09287-6
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This disturbing, sharply rendered account tells how the post-Communist Russian Mafiya has infiltrated American life with tactical intelligence and a rare level of viciousness. Drawing from interviews with top Russian mobsters and police, journalist Friedman (Zealots for Zion: Inside Israel's West Bank Settlement Movement) trenchantly explores the brutal corruption of the U.S.S.R. and the anarchic greed that has flourished since its collapse, incubating a ""criminal colossus that has surpassed the Colombian cartels, the Japanese Yakuzas, the Chinese triads and the Italian Mafia in wealth and weaponry."" Friedman, whose reporting on this subject has appeared in Vanity Fair, the Village Voice and other publications, writes of one wise guy responsible for 100 hits and of ""Tarzan""Dthe swaggering Miami mobster busted while attempting to tender a Russian submarine to Colombian drug lords. Friedman documents how the mobsters have imported their brand of terror tacticsDshakedowns, kidnappings, bombings and public assassinationDfrom Moscow to Russian communities in Denver, Brooklyn's Brighton Beach and elsewhere, and examines what he casts as the largely inadequate, uninformed responses by law enforcement. Perhaps most disturbing, he suggests, is this: following profitable 1980s-era gasoline bootlegging schemes, Mafiya criminals shrewdly expanded into numerous quasi-legal pursuitsDestablishing luxurious Russian-themed nightclubs, corrupting Russian migr ice hockey players and making inroads in Israel through their own Jewish ethnicity. Friedman isn't always in control of the bewildering array of players and narrative threads that make up his complicated tale. But there's much to praise in this frightening, urgent reportorial projectDa project that has resulted in death threats against Friedman, as he relates in his hair-raising introduction. Photo insert not seen by PW. BOMC alternate. (May)
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