This paper examines the scope of Russian organized crime in the United States.
Russian organized crime (ROC) is an umbrellas phrase that captures a variety of crime groups and criminal activities. Even the characterization Russian is used generically to refer to a variety of Eurasian crime groups. It is estimated that approximately 15 of these loosely categorized criminal groups are operating in the United States with 8 or 9 of them maintaining links to Russia. The threat and use of violence is a defining characteristic of ROC. Violence is used to gain and maintain control of criminal markets and retributive violence is used within and between criminal groups. A characteristic even more defining of ROC in the United States than its violence is the predominant nature of its criminal activity. These criminal groups are extensively engaged in a broad array of frauds and scams with Russians becoming the principal culprit of credit card fraud. As criminals from the former Soviet Union become more assimilated into American society, they are moving into legitimate businesses. Even though they have the financial capacity to do so, there is no evidence to suggest that the ROC has had any political influence in the United States. ROC’s infiltration into the United States resulted in the United States law enforcement strategy for combating Russian organized crime outlined by the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division in 1999. References
Date Published: January 1, 2000