It takes two to tango: the state and organized crime in Russia

Stephenson, Svetlana (2016) It takes two to tango: the state and organized crime in Russia. Current Sociology, 65 (3). pp. 411-426. ISSN 1461-7064


The article analyses the evolution of the state–organized crime relationship in Russia during the post-Soviet transition. Using a case study conducted in Tatarstan, which included interviews with criminal gang members and representatives of law enforcement agencies and analysis of secondary data, it argues that instead of a pattern of elimination or subjugation of Russian organized crime by the state, we see a mutually reinforcing ensemble which reproduces the existing social order. While both the strengthening of the state and organized crime actors’ own ambitions led to their increasing integration into political structures, a complex web of interdependencies emerged in which actors from criminal networks and political authorities collaborated using each other’s resources. This fusion and assimilation of members of the governing bureaucracy and members of an aspiring bourgeoisie coming from criminal backgrounds were as much the result of consensus and cooperation as of competition and confrontation.

It Takes Two To Tango - Svetlana Stephenson - Repository version.pdf - Accepted Version

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