This name has become increasingly popular over the past few years, in line with the growing power played and the inextricable links between the state authorities and such gangsters. The role of mafia bosses, known as vor v zakone, is a distant cry to their status in the former Soviet Union.
The Financial Times ran an excellent piece on 16 December 2011 entitled Who runs Russia?, providing an overview of such characters and their influence in the past and today.
The mafia comes in different forms, as has also been documented by Luke Harding, a journalist from The Guardian, who was expelled from Russia and was subjected to mld, but particularly distasteful methods of Russia’s successor to the much reviled Soviet KGB – the Federal Security Service (otherwise known as the FSB). The following extract from his book “Mafia State” provides an idea of the current state of the environment if you say the wrong words or interview the wrong people: Enemy of the state.
Another former Russia correspondent A.D. Miller, who wrote an excellent first novel on the state of Russia, Snowdrops, also penned a fair review of Harding’s opus, also in the Guardian, entitled: Mafia State by Luke Harding – review
Some people might classify oligarchs, who have benefited from ties to former President and current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, as among the mafia. One such character, Roman Abramovich, former friend of Boris Berezovsky and former politician in Russia, was forced under oath to admit in the High Court that he had engaged in illegal activities, as reported in the Guardian on 2 November 2011: Roman Abramovich admits giving bagfuls of cash to friend . Of course, it could be argued in his defence that he did not know that this was a crime in the UK. It has to be assumed that he paid tax on this money to the Russian tax authorities.