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“Military and Security Structures in/and the Regions”

One Hand Washes Another : Informal Ties Between Organized Criminal Groups and Law-Enforcement Agencies in Russia

Alexander Salagaev, Alexander Shashkin and Alexey Konnov


This article discusses the forms, contents and peculiarities of the existing informal ties between members of organized criminal groups and representatives of law-enforcement agencies in the Tatarstan Republic of Russia. Particular attention is paid to the origins of informal ties; ways how these relations are established, maintained, and utilized by both parts; causes of corruption in the law-enforcement agencies and the possibilities to understand it. The main conclusions are based on the results of ninety-six in-depth interviews with the law-enforcement officers, businessmen, members of organized criminal groups, and journalists conducted in main cities and towns of the Tatarstan Republic under support of the Transnational Crime and Corruption Centre at American University.

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1 In February 2005 the newspaper Moscow Komsomolets published a series of articles entitled “Brigade-2”. The articles concerned a sensational criminal case of so-called “Werewolves in Epaulets” – six officers from Moscow Criminal Investigation Department and their companion General Ganeev, the Head of the Security Department at the Ministry of Extraordinary Situations. Two thousand pages of evidence detailed their large business empire which brought in almost USD 1 million per month via dozens of enterprises, casinos, restaurants registered in their relatives’ and friends’ names or by payment of protection money; about the criminal cases for which they regularly manufactured false evidence by stealthily planted drugs and arms on innocent victims; about their ‘fruitful co-operation’ with organized crime; about agents of the “Brigade” who created their own gangs, provoked them for crimes, and then gave the information to “brave policemen” who were subsequently able to show good statistical evidence of their effective work; and about the resulting scores of “broken fates”.  When the “brigade” was denounced police officials did their best to show that it was the “horrible single case, which tells nothing about the system”, the “cancerous growth inside the valiant police”; former friends of the “brigade” members immediately forgot them and told that “these people should be forever disgraced”.

2The clamor has gone but the questions remained: how was it possible that such brigade had successfully functioned in the most honorable Moscow City Police Department? How the border between justice and crime became blurred? Was it really a “single case” or the same was going on in the majority of police departments all over Russia? When a similar situation recently happened in the US (two New York City police detectives were charged by federal prosecutors with taking part in eight murders on behalf of the Mafia1) the media also tried to avoid “global conclusions”. Law-enforcement system should serve as a shield that protects society from criminal trespasses, and thus the appearance of ties between policemen and criminals means the disarmament of society in the face of crime. Close ties between law-enforcement agencies and organized criminal groups are even more dangerous, as the border between the gangsters and those who were called to combat them becomes invisible. Recent facts show that the misconduct and corruption in the police forces can also help terrorists. For example, the breach of duty by policemen responsible for security-screening passengers who allowed suicide bombers to planes unchecked in return for a bribe at Moscow Domodedovo airport led to the deaths of more then ninety people2. It was proved that the explosions of apartment houses in Moscow and Volgodonsk in 1999 were possible because of terrorists’ agreement with the officer of the Trafficking Police3. At the same time such facts are rarely discussed in public, and related information appears in media only in extraordinary circumstances.

3The current article will investigate the informal ties between members of organized criminal groups and representatives of law-enforcement agencies in the Tatarstan Republic of Russia. Before starting the analysis we would like to describe the general context: give the overall picture of the sight where our research was conducted; analyze the situation with organized crime in the Tatarstan Republic and its capital city Kazan.

The Tartarstan Region and Background of Criminality

4The Tatarstan Republic of Russia is located about 500 miles east of Moscow along the Volga River. The total area of the Republic is 67836.2 square kilometers; with population - according to the census of 2002- of 3779.3 thousand people. Kazan is a city of approximately 1.1 million people, with massive industrial production of aircraft, chemicals, electronics, and textiles. The Republic is predominantly bi-ethnic with a majority (52.9 percent) of the population being Tartars (Muslims) and 39.5 percent Russians (Orthodox Christians) (in Kazan the proportion of Russians and Tatars is different: 48.8 and 47.5 percent respectively). It is worth noting that Kazan city boasts fifteen universities and forty research institutes.

5According to our previous research, the Volga region of Russia and the Tatarstan Republic in particular were characterized by a high level of activities of juvenile delinquent gangs since the end of 1980s. During the period of existence such youth groups were transformed into well organized criminal communities; they established connections with law-enforcement agencies; they set up the networks with criminal groups acting in other Russian regions and abroad and took control of many small and medium sized businesses4. Kazan city is one of the regional centers of organized criminal groups’ formation. Nowadays Kazan hosts dozens of large criminal communities (eighty-six, according to the evaluations of Tatarstan Ministry of Interior), and every group has from fifty to 300 members. According to our preliminary estimates made after twenty years studying gangs in Volga region, the total number of members of organized criminal groups in Kazan runs up to 20000 people. If we count the whole Republic, this figure should be doubled, and if the whole Privolzhskiy Federal Region is considered the final amount should be almost ten times higher.

6 At the same time, as our previous research has shown, gang violence in Tatarstan during the last year continues to decrease in comparison with the 1980s and the 1990s: there are fewer and fewer direct collisions or fights between the rival gangs. Nowadays the economic factors of their activities are dominant: the most influential groups have stable financial basis and sources of income; many gang members now tend to legalize their businesses and stay within the law. Moreover, active gang members and leaders try to establish informal ties with the law enforcement agencies.

7 While such ties seem to be strong and continuous, an information vacuum does exist around the problems of organized crime and corruption, proving the necessity for independent research and rising public awareness about the symbiosis of criminal and law-enforcement structures.

8The article is based on the results of ninety-six in-depth interviews with the law-enforcement officers, members of organized criminal groups, businessmen, and journalists and will discuss the following issues:

  • Distinctive features of the informal ties between organized criminal groups and law enforcement agencies in Tatarstan Republic of Russia such as Ministry of Interior (Department for the Struggle Against Organized Crime, Department for the Struggle Against Economic Crimes, Department of Criminal Investigations), Office of Public Prosecutor, courts, Department of Corrections, etc.;

  • Mechanisms of establishing and maintaining ties between members of criminal groups and state officials and the process of actualization of informal ties in case of conflicts and problems;

  • Patterns of using informal ties as well as financial and social advantages and privileges that every side gets as result of the interaction;

  • Reasons why the informal ties between organized criminal groups and power structures appear as well as the prospects of understanding corruption in the law-enforcement agencies.

Sociological Studies of Corruption : Theoretical and Methodological Issues

9Corruption has always been a popular research topic for political scientists and economists. However, commonly agreed-upon theoretical approach on which to base an empirical model of corruption does not exist5. Among social and cultural factors connected with the extent of corruption researchers usually name education and income levels; openness of economical, political, and law systems; social inequality; religiosity, and even the size of public budget in particular societies6. Another tradition is to focus on the procedures and institutions that help to reduce corruption and increase trustworthiness of government such as transparency of power institutions7, free media8, well developed non-governmental sector, etc.

10In our article we will be accurate in using the term ‘corruption’ preferring to speak about the informal (or illegitimate) ties that law-enforcement officials have with organized criminal groups. “Corruption” has always been a “corrupt” concept used for politicizing the problem, both within the national political and economic system and internationally. In such a way the term “corruption” was used to blame particular societies (for example, post-communist countries) with the moral decay, democracy deficit or even totalitarianism9. As Little and Posada-Carbo have noted, “the temptation to identify corruption with alien societies, with the other, has always been irresistible”10. When the term “corruption” will be used in our article, we will follow Treisman who defined it as “the misuse of public office” for private gains11. At the same time we realize that this definition gives us limited understanding of the meaning of various practices that are called “corrupt” for the actors who are involved in such practices and for the society and its institutions at large. Existing distinctions between administrative or bureaucratic corruption which involves the use of public office for pecuniary gain and political corruption involving the use of office both for pecuniary gain and for purposes of remaining in office12 also do not help us very much, as the ties that we have studied are deeply embedded in social networks and the creation of social capital, and thus are not limited to financial benefits or struggle for political power. In other words it is a mode of existence based on mutual trust, exchange of gifts, traditional personal relations when kinship and friendship are valued higher then professional duties13.

11The sociology of corruption concentrates on social relationships that form the basis of this phenomenon. In early sociological studies of corruption it was seen as a deviant behavior that shows the disturbance within a political system14. Similar positivistic views connect corruption with person-to-person exchange that ignores universal expectations of role-appropriate behavior15. While the logic of exchange can be regarded as a key component of corrupt ties, the presence of universal expectations seems problematic, as in some societies public official will “deviate” from role-appropriate behavior refusing to accept a bribe. Another way to conceptualize corruption is to view it as a political label16. Labeling certain activities or actors as corrupt and legalizing certain morally suspect wrongdoings are parts of the social construction of corruption17.

12After the collapse of the Soviet Union it became popular to study corruption in post-Soviet countries, especially Russia, as it was seen as paradigmatic case upon which to draw in formulating theories about corruption18. Western scholars trace the roots of corruption in Russia in the Soviet party hierarchy, excessive bureaucratic control and an absence of private property19. Post-communist states were also used as an example to justify the historical concept that sees corruption at the informal beginning of the formation of states and societies as a necessary concomitant to modernization processes. New authorities and norms are not yet been firmly established and the transition process is not yet been completed, thus the informal authorities and corruption are flourishing20.

13In Russia corruption is mainly studied by lawyers, political scientists and economists. Legal studies are focused on structural factors of corruption in a bureaucratic mechanism; its legislation and struggle against corruption on the state level21. Political scientists study corruption in the governmental structures, especially during the elections22; lobbyism in political system23; link between the state organs and organized criminal groups24; strategies of governmental structures to keep their power and extract “administrative rent” through “business capture”25. The most famous studies of administrative corruption in economic sphere in Russia were conducted by the World Bank26. The majority of economic corruption studies are focused around the problems of privatization27 and administrative barriers to economic development28.

14As has been shown in considerable number of sociological studies, corruption in Russia has become the institutionalized social practice as it is regular, durable, and supported by the norms prevalent in Russian society29. Moreover, corruption in Russia, together with the shadow-economy, shadow-politics and shadow--law constitute an institutionalized “shadow reality” 30. Similarly to Western scholars who argue that “corrupt practices satisfy the needs of the social system, including its need for self-preservation”31, some Russian researchers view corruption as a mean to preserve personal interests in front of the state bureaucratic apparatus and thus make a prognosis that corruption will rise with the increase of social activity and economic involvement of Russian population32.

15One of the most important concepts used in the sociological studies of corruption in Russia is a concept of ‘social networks’ that can be defined as a set of social relations and social ties between certain individual and these individuals themselves33. Certainly, corruption is a network activity, which involves various social actors. Moreover, corrupted networks are created either in vertical (along the organizational hierarchy) or horizontal dimensions (between different organizations on the same levels of management)34. The “economy of deficit” during Soviet times made everybody dependent on their ties with “useful people”. Usually such social networks were based on blood- or friend- relationships and presupposed the exchange of different services35. Such proverbs and expressions as “You to me – me to you”, “Do not have hundred rubles, have hundred friends”, “One hand washes another” show that social networks could be seen as an informal social institution. Involvement in a broad range of social networks with important people constitutes social capital. According to classical definition, social capital constitutes “numerous kinds of social relations grouped according to their function in producing returns to individuals”36.

16As police and law-enforcement agencies are monopolistic institutions with a relatively high degree of discretion and low transparency they could be considered most critical in bearing on the opportunities for corruption37. At the same time police very rarely becomes the subject of the studies of corruption both on the West and in Russia. Police in almost every country appear to be a closed social institution with the tendency to protect one’s profession and organization and thus not expose deviance committed by colleagues38. Thus police corruption and police integrity are on the ‘dark side of the moon’ for most researchers who have to deal every time with problems of access, reliability and validity of information39.

17Police corruption in Russia was also studied insufficiently. Among the few studies we can mention the survey of 1,125 Russian police officers and trainees conducted by Adrian Beck and Ruth Lee40. The study above all has documented that close family and friendship ties and notions of obligation affect the extent to which police officers find corrupt activities morally acceptable and are used to justify morally dubious behavior. Research done in a specialized labor camp in Siberia for convicted law enforcement and government officials revealed high levels of corruption in their branches of the legal and administrative system41. In both studies the references to inadequate wages were mentioned by the respondents to excuse corruption. The existing studies have documented the involvement of Russian police officers in business racket42, some other different criminal or illegal activities, and ties with organized crime43.

18The overwhelming majority of studies mentioned above were either pure theoretical or quantitative; qualitative studies of corruption appear quite rarely. At the same time we would argue that ethnographies can substantially broaden our understanding of the social practices that are called “corruption” and answer how and why these practices are formed, maintained and reproduced. Our research study consisted of ninety-six semi-formalized in-depth interviews with experts and practitioners such as: law-enforcement officers (thirty-eight interviews); businessmen (twenty-four); members of the organized criminal groups (eighteen), and journalists (sixteen). The interviews were conducted in the cities, towns, and regional centers of the Tatarstan Republic of Russia (Kazan, Naberezhniye Chelny, Nizhnekamsk, Leninogorsk, Zelenodolsk, Nurlat, and Agryz). Professional interviewers of the Centre for Analytic Studies and Development (Kazan) were engaged in the study. It is important that the answers of our respondents from different categories and different jurisdictions were rather consistent, which shows the validity of the data. At the same time, the results of the study do not allow us to make generalizations about the scope of ties between organized crime and law-enforcement agencies, thus we will write about the situation in one particular Russian region.

Could You Help to Solve a Problem ? Establishing and Maintaining Illegitimate Ties in Tartarstan

19Corruption and ties between law-enforcement officers and members of organized criminal groups did not appear recently. Analysis of the criminal case of the gang “Tyap-Lyap” that operated in Kazan from mid 1960s till mid 1980s showed that fifty officers were fired from the police for the close ties with this gang. In our research the problem of police corruption was also named as the most troublesome by our experts44:

“Today you can buy every policeman, and people are doing that. The police system nowadays pushes out honest people as a foreign substance. Police now is a well organized system of ‘dirty money’ distribution. Every officer knows how much a person on a particular position should have. It is a cover up…” (L., businessman, record of standing 15 years,  Naberezhniye Chelny).

20According to our experts, abuse of public authority constantly happens in the law-enforcement agencies. As a rule it serves the purposes of personal enrichment, but the cases of criminal behavior shift the limits of the permissibility of corruption within the professional group, and give a bad example to any newcomers to the profession. As the interview analysis has shown, almost all respondents mentioned the existence of ties between law-enforcement agencies and criminal groups emphasizing that these ties have become more common and were used more often by both sides.

21In our study we have tried to define the agencies that have been more involved in the mutually beneficial ties with organized criminal groups. According to our experts, corruption and illegitimate ties are widespread in such structures and subdivisions of the Ministry of Interior as: Department for the Struggle Against Economic Crimes (OBEP); Department for the Struggle Against Organized Crime (OBOP); Department for Criminal Investigations (OUR); State Traffic Police (GIBDD or GAI), and Department for Internal Security (USB). The main reason for this, according to our experts, is that these organs frequently face members of organized criminal groups in their work and thus develop particular schemes of co-existence and co-operation with them. Ironically, the struggle with organized crime is one of the main tasks for almost all abovementioned agencies:

“Such ties are more common for the officers from the departments that struggle with organized crimes. Gang members are their contingent, and thus they interact with each other more often. But the regional police departments are also keeping up…” (B., law-enforcement officer, record of standing 11 years, Kazan).

22As our respondents have mentioned, illegitimate ties exist at almost all levels of the hierarchy, but they are most typical for the leading officers: heads of regional and municipal police departments, heads of particular branches and their assistants. The strong hierarchy also exists also in utilization of illegitimate ties: junior officers communicate with ordinary gang members, and leading officers deal with leaders and authorities of the criminal world. The rewards are distributed hierarchically as well:

“A District police officer goes on foot. The head of the regional office drives a Lada car. The head of the department drives more advanced model of Lada. The head of the Municipal Department of Interior usually drives a posh car. I live in a dormitory, commanders live in their big private houses. But this is not advertised. Even deputy chiefs have new cars… Everything is clear anyway…” (A., thirty-six year old, law-enforcement officer, record of standing 5 years, Nizhnekamsk).

23The research has shown that informal ties with members of organized criminal groups are more common for senior officers who have been working in the law-enforcement agencies for a long time. It is so because these officers have an experience and practical skills, are competent in decision making, and thus are able to “solve problems”:

“It is mostly typical for those who work for a long time in the system and have influence there. Junior officers cannot do anything real, but those who have higher ranks have all the power, they can do what is needed. Thus they are the first called for co-operation” (B., 21 years old, gang member, Kazan).

24Therefore, money and prestige appear not because of success at work, but together with the ability to offer a wide range of “paid services” and “solve the problems” of gang members. Besides, the administrative position is actively used for the illegal protection of business structures, the organization of personal business and control over the most attractive sectors of shadow economy such as drug sales and prostitution.

25Setting up relationships between the officer and gang member is a first step in establishing mutually beneficial ties. The analysis of expert opinions has shown that the mechanisms of establishing first-time relationships can vary quite substantively. The contact can be established in a “natural manner” when police officers and gang members are relatives, or live in one neighborhood, or are friends from childhood. In the process of becoming adults, law-enforcement officers and members of organized criminal groups get higher positions in the hierarchies of their systems and thus old friends, relatives or acquaintances acquire more possibilities to solve the particular problems and continue networking:

“They do not specially meet each other because they are friends from childhood. For instance they lived in the same yard, were friends, and then one went to the organs, and another to the street. But it is not possible to strike out the friendship.” (B, 18 years old, gang member, Kazan).

26Another “objective” condition of the first contact between the police officers and gang members is the activity on the same territory. The problems that might appear can usually be solved in the framework of a gang’s zone of power or on a territory under jurisdiction of a particular police department. Constant intersections of interests force both groups to contact and establish mutually beneficial relationships:

“Every organized criminal group has its territory. When the crime is committed the gang that controls this territory is contacted first of all.” (R., former law-enforcement officer, record of standing 3 years, Kazan).

27After analyzing interviews with the law-enforcement officers we have singled out four main mechanisms used by law enforcement officers to establish contacts with gang members during professional activity.

281. Officers interviewing gang members as witnesses in the past and in the course of investigation “friendship relationships” were established. This especially concerns the leaders of organized criminal groups as they usually do not commit crimes themselves but are very well informed about the situation on their territory.

292. Officers investigating gang related crimes and collecting a number of ‘hooks’ – facts that could be used to institute criminal proceedings against a particular gang member. When the offender finds this out he tries to make contact with the police officer to “neutralize the discreditable materials” using all possible means, usually ranging from intimidation to buying or stealing them.

303. Officer gets acquainted with a gang member during crime investigation activities, and then starts to “sell the resources”:

“Contacts are established during arrests, different accidents, fights... We bring the offender to the department, but after two or three days he is released. And some officers immediately get new and expensive mobile phones. Or the telephone card is paid. Who, working in the police, can speak half an hour on a mobile phone?” (M., law-enforcement officer, record of standing 10 years, Naberezhniye Chelny).

314. A contact can be established as a result of a search for a particular category of police officers who are ‘weak and dissatisfied with their work and salary’ performed by gang members. The most vulnerable are the officers who need money as well as are unscrupulous and disposed to bribe-taking. When such an officer is found, he is supported materially, which in turn obliges him to provide support to gang members. But sometimes the contacts are established by means of intimidation:

“Contacts are established in the following way: a police officer lives in the neighborhood where a particular gang is playing the master. Usually the members of the gang help him to solve a problem, drink with him or take a vacation with him. Or they can exert psychological pressure on him, intimidate him. And after that the policeman starts to collaborate with the gang.” (Sh., law-enforcement officer, record of standing 7 years, Naberezhniye Chelny).

32If the contact cannot be established directly, the parties look for the mediators. With the help of expert judgments we can name several groups of people who usually serve as mediators in establishing illegitimate ties between gang members and law-enforcement officers:

33a) Former law-enforcement officers. According to our respondents from the police, none of the officers will contact unknown person and gang members in particular for reasons of personal security. In this case former police officers help gang members to establish contacts with ‘useful people’ standing as a guarantor of security for both parties.

34b) Advocates. This group has rather heterogeneous structure: advocates can be former law-enforcement officers, holders of law degree, former employees of the Prosecutor’s Office, etc. Thus advocates have many possibilities to help gang members in establishing necessary ties. Moreover, according to our experts, there are advocates who get the legal education at the expense of organized criminal groups.

35c) Businessmen. During the commercial activity owners of various businesses often come across both law-enforcement agencies and criminal groups and thus can help them to establish ties with each other.

36d) People who came across the law-enforcement system (suspects, witnesses, defendants, etc.) but are not gang members. Gangs can specifically find such people and ask them to be mediators in establishing ties with the law-enforcement bodies.

37e) Relatives and friends of gang members who work in police, Prosecutor’s office, courts and other agencies. According to our experts, this group is the most large and reliable:

“For example, my cousin is a captain in the police, another cousin is a major, my uncle is a lieutenant colonel, my sister’s husband is a police major, and I am in the gang” (I.G., 31 year old, gang member, Naberezhnie Chelny).

38At the same time experts described cases where the fact of having relatives in criminal sphere was the reasons for the discharge of a police officer. It was made to avoid actualization of such ties in favor of criminals. The discharged relatives of gang members then work in various structures controlled by these gangs or serve as advocates of gang members in courts.

39Our experts also described a case when a former gang member with the support of his relative of high rank became a head of the department that investigated certain crimes related to his gang and himself in the past. In that way he became a chief for the people who previously worked against him:

“It was once that a new head of the Criminal Investigation Department and old officer met each other. The officer remembered that his today’s boss was registered as a gang member. His mouth was closed. This tells us that the record was previously cleaned, or they overlooked this fact as a brother of the former was working in the central apparatus” (M., former law-enforcement officer, record of standing 8 years, Kazan).

40Our experts often noticed that the contact can be established with neither a preliminary acquaintance nor or mediator between the two parties. In principle it can mean the shift to the open trade of services performed by the law-enforcement officers:

“Contacts often occur directly without any mediators. It is nothing to be afraid of! Police officer makes these contacts, shakes hands with cheaters. Chiefs can do this, it is easier for them, but two of us were discharged for nothing…” (L., law-enforcement officer, record of standing 9 years, Leninogorsk).

41Besides the act of establishing illegal contacts between gang members and representatives of law-enforcement agencies, the process of maintaining the ties also has a great significance for understanding the essence of such relationships. Irrespective of the duration of contacts, law-enforcement officers and gang members make considerable efforts to maintain them. First of all the social network is maintained by periodic meetings. As the ties are illegitimate, the choice of a meeting place seems to be the indicative process. As our study has shown, the choice of a particular place depends on the level of control from the special departments dealing with the internal security. Sometimes the parties can reach privacy only inside the police department where the meeting can be masked as a standard examination procedure:

“We do not have open contacts. If we meet, we meet secretly, talk about our problems. We should be able to solve problems. It is possible to contact in the office space. Our town is small, every wall has eyes…” (Kh., law-enforcement officer, record of standing 10 years, Leninogorsk).

42Other common places for secret meetings are private cottages in the countryside. Meetings in cottages usually have an informal character and are accompanied by drinking alcohol, having a bath together, calling for prostitutes, and other entertainments. Meetings “with bath and shashlik” usually happen when gang members and police officers have not only business, but also friendship relations. Participants often have a mutual personal sympathy, and are not led only by commercial interests. It is a good example of a particular way of regarding professional duties of police officers when personal relations are put higher and gang members are considered first of all as friends but not representatives of antagonistic structure.

43According to some of our respondents, it is not necessary to hide the fact of contact between ‘gangster and policeman’. These statements are based on the facts that special departments for internal security work ineffectively, and it is rather hard to fix the episode of malfeasance. The rule of conspiracy, according to some of our experts, can be ignored even during the public actions where the fact of the contact can cause people’s blame:

“I know that members of organized criminal gangs come to the working place without any ceremony; they do not hide their ties. For example, gang member can pop into the Prosecutor’s Office to see his old school friend on the way to his own business. They can easily talk, pass gifts. Of course they also meet in cafes, restaurants, on picnics” (M., former law-enforcement officer, record of standing 8 years, Kazan).

44It is worth mentioning that open contacts between police officers and gang members are sometimes promoted by the official status of the latter. A considerable number of criminal authorities have already been legalized and became representatives of business and political elites (for instance, by being elected to the State Duma of Russian Federation). Thus it is not considered shameful to meet them as they have acquired a reputation of being respectable citizens.

45Undoubtedly, the main mechanism of maintaining illegitimate relationships consists of material stimulation of the officers working in the law-enforcement agencies. As it was stated by the majority of our respondents, illegitimate ties with gang members are kept because of the existing interest in personal enrichment and acquisition of material values. The ties do not always have a monetary character: the equivalent could be various gifts, possibility to buy products with discounts, free personal services, invitations to pleasure trips (sometimes together with gang members), etc.:

“Services on a personal level: free car parking, building materials for a dacha, repair works in a flat. Money is not so popular. People in gangs are good psychologists: an offer of money can insult police officers…” (A.A., law-enforcement officer, record of standing 6 years, Kazan).

46As the variety of potential services to the law-enforcement officers is rather broad, the prices to buy a particular service are also different. The size of compensation usually depends on a complexity of the problem (sometimes to solve it the officer should break the law) and the “degree of friendship” with the officer or the mediator. Besides, the respondents have also mentioned two more criteria for setting up rates for particular services: firstly, the amount depends on the type of law-enforcement body: “Police costs much less then the court or other law-enforcement agencies” (P., law-enforcement officer, record of standing 6 years, Kazan); secondly, the amount depends on the position of a person offering the service:

“The Head of the Criminal Police in our Regional Police Department bought a piece of furniture for 2000 dollars. He has two wives, and each of them has a flat, but he lives already with the  third or the fourth one. The higher the level of police officer, the more he costs in the police hierarchy… If you take a liter of vodka you will be fired, if you 1000 thousand dollars you will be promoted” (P.B., law-enforcement officer, record of standing 8 years, Naberezhnie Chelny).

47When establishing ties with the gangs, law-enforcement officers first consider their power resources or the authority of their members in the criminal sphere. This became especially significant when the problem could be solved only according to the criminal norms. Illegal ties with the leaders of criminal groups, as our interviews have shown, can also serve as an important mobility channel for the “guards of law and order”. Criminal authorities are able to assist in career development of ‘their’ officer using the broad power resources they have in the region, city or the whole republic.

48Officers of the law-enforcement bodies and gang members recognize the value of interaction with each other because such contacts are mutually beneficial. The next section of our article is devoted to the ways of utilization of such ties.

You to Me, Me to You: Models of Using Illegitimate Ties

49As our research has shown, social networks of gang members and law-enforcement officers are very close and usually based on friendship: the contacts are constantly established and maintained, and the flow of mutual services has a continuous character. According to our interviews, there are many ways how gang members can utilize “useful” ties in the law-enforcement agencies (police, office of public prosecutor, courts). We have singled out the following key ways they can do so: obtaining information that helps to hide crimes or avoid criminal responsibility; obtaining information that helps to commit crimes and reproduce criminal activities; practical support in criminal activity; support during economic activity; support during investigation process, court proceedings and imprisonment; and some other types of support and services. All these types will be examined below in details.

1. Obtaining information

50According to our experts, the information exchange between gang members and representatives of law-enforcement agencies is widespread and continuous. As it was stated, law-enforcement bodies have no more secrets: gang members get access to the documents “for internal use”, to databases, and even to the officers’ personal information :

“Gang members surrender only those whom they don’t need. They do not surrender to their friends. But police officers surrender to their colleagues stock and barrel. Policemen are the most unreliable people. It is better not to get involved with the police, not to report anything to them. But of course everything depends on a collective and a head.” (S.M., law-enforcement officer, record of standing 7 years, Nizhnekamsk).

  1. Information that helps to hide crimes or avoid criminal responsibility

Information about police operations.

51We have found out during the research that anti-criminal activities of the police sometimes were ineffective as the objects of investigation knew about the planned actions due to the information drain. Gang members are often informed about the police operations such as unannounced investigations against prostitution, drugs and arms sale, thefts, and other crimes:

“Corruptibility is widespread… It is a usual case, for instance, with prostitutes. In the evening police officers develop a plan and some time is needed to approve and sign it. If you plan this beforehand you will never find any prostitutes on the street. If the raid is carried out unexpectedly - police cars are quickly organized and sent to these places – then you can see the result…” (M.N., law-enforcement officer, record of standing 5 years, Naberezhnie Chelny).

52In the following quotation, a gang member talks about the mechanisms of information drain about a police operation. In his opinion, police officers give notice about the raids, as they themselves get illegal income from prostitution, drug trafficking and other criminal activities of the gangs45:

“If after the operation they do not get any money, they will prefer to warn us. The police knows everything. It is not profitable for them to prohibit everything... If you have money, nobody touches you, if your money comes to an end, you are arrested. Those who pay are living very well. The 48th is doing well, they are paying; the 36th were bankrupt or did not want to pay, and they are all in prison now; the 48th is always alarmed, when they pay, the operation is over…” (F., 26 year old, gang member, Naberezhnie Chelny).

Giving notice to the people who have committed crimes about the planned arrest.

53In the same way as described above ‘friends’ in the police alarm criminals including gang members and leaders about the possibility of being arrested:

“All criminal authorities are well known. And if something is going to happen they are informed. They are told when it is better to leave the place and where it is better not to go. One of my friends always concealed himself in the village. It is better then in prison...” (S., 32 year old, gang member, Kazan).

Information about the investigation process, delivery of information and documents on the cases related to gangs.

54As many of our respondents have stated, gang members are often informed about the investigations against them by the officers working in the police and Prosecutor’s Office. This information is used for the avoidance of criminal responsibility:

“It is usual that copies of documents are passed. But usually gang members are given the possibility to acquaint with the materials of criminal case. According to the law, suspected person is not allowed to see the investigation materials. If such information becomes available to the criminal the case is considered as failed” (M., law-enforcement officer, record of standing 9 years, Kazan).

55By illegally familiarizing themselves with the materials of ongoing investigations, gang members can get access to the statements of their companions in crime and then develop common lines of conduct during interrogations. Information about the witnesses can be used to put pressure on them and to force them to change their statements:

“Members of our gang were put in a bull-pen for robbery in three shops. We came to the police department, read what our friends have said, what witnesses have said… All in all we easily read everything, just in case found out witnesses’ addresses…” (B., 20 year old, gang member, Zelenodolsk).

56Thus gang members can have information at every stage of the investigation process (from collecting on-line data to the creation of a criminal case and delivering it to the court), and thus get wide possibilities to hide crimes and avoid responsibility.

Checking-up on information about businesses.

57If earlier the criminal code prohibited any kind of trading to gang members, nowadays commercial activity, especially illegal, constitutes one of the main sources of gangs’ income. So the information about business check-ups (by tax police, etc.) becomes very useful.

b) Information that helps to commit crimes and reproduce criminal activities

Information about natural (i.e. individual(s)) and juridical (i.e. commercial/corporate entities) persons.

58As our research has shown, the information about individuals can serve different goals. According to our experts, gang members, for instance, often want to obtain information about a businessman (home address, telephone, possessed property, numbers and types of cars, etc.) and his firm to force him to pay protection money to the gang or about a witness of crime to put pressure on him/her. The access to police databases allows gang members to do that, and thus they often consume such information. Besides, the databases contain information about suspected persons; current investigations, etc.

Information about the activities of rival gangs.

59The police databases also contain information about the activities of rival gangs, which is widely used by gangs in competitive activities for the spheres of influence.

Consultations with law-enforcement officers.

60Among other things, gang members usually address the acquainted officers for consultations. According to the interviews, such consultations usually concern the possibilities to evade laws during illegal or commercial activity.

2. Practical support

61In addition to the provision of gang members with important information, law-enforcement officers render them a variety of practical services. It is essential that almost all of such services can be qualified as crimes.

а) Support in committing crimes and reproducing criminal activity

Exerting pressure on natural persons.

62The facts of direct participation of the officers in gangs’ criminal activities were mentioned rather rarely in our interviews. At the same time gang members often use the authorities of police officers for the fulfillment of their criminal designs. In particular it happens in case of threatening and exerting pressure on people:

“They can go to the crew leaders, make a deal with the officer that he gives a command to his people to come to the particular place and arrest people there, coarsely search them to show the power, humiliate people. And policemen do this. Gang members pay directly to the officer or to his assistant. It means that they use police on duty for their own purposes” (I.P., law-enforcement officer, record of standing 5 years, Kazan).

Fights against rival gangs.

63As stated by our experts, officers working in law-enforcement bodies are quite often involved in the struggle against rival gangs. It is done by regularly bringing to account members of one or another gang using the information provided by their competitors.

Co-operation in taking illegal protection money from businesses.

64As it was already mentioned, police officers can be involved in the process of establishing control over businesses. Usually it happens as a result of thoroughly planned operations, when one side (gang or police) first exert pressure on the victim, and then another side offers the businessman to ‘solve the problem’ against financial reward:

“The Department for Struggle against Organized Crime (UBEP) is very active… They usually work like gang members; it means invasion and then ‘rescue’ from it. Many combinations exist. For example, the Department examines a business, exerts pressure, and then offers the services. Once it was organized in a way that UBEP exerted pressure and we offered to settle this question” (S., 32 year old, gang member, Kazan).

Help in purchasing arms and direct sale of arms to gang members.

65Several experts mentioned that officers working at law-enforcement organs render assistance to gang members in purchasing arms. We can suppose that both sides of the interaction are aware that these arms can be used for criminal purposes later on.

Convoying illegal goods of gang members.

66Gang members know that police officers can easier settle conflicts with their “colleagues in epaulets” (for example, traffic police inspectors). Thus they often draw the officers for such remunerative service as convoying illegal goods. The following goods are considered as the most “criminal” in Tatarstan Republic: non-ferrous metal, illegally acquired or stolen automobile spares, tires, polyethylene, counterfeit vodka, round sums of money, etc.

Removing a person from the police database.

67According to our experts, if a gang member needs a clear police record (for example, when he decides to start a legal business or become a politician) it is possible to buy this service from the officer responsible. In the same way, a person can be excluded from the convictions database. Previous conviction is an aggravation during the court examination; besides, the convictions database is usually searched when a person applies for a foreign passport, tries to get a job in the law-enforcement agencies, takes part to the elections etc. Thus the exclusion from this database can be useful for gang members who want to decrease their criminal responsibility, “legalize” themselves and so forth. According to the majority of experts, such service is offered rather often:

“For instance, a person was convicted and I know it exactly… You input his name in the Information Centre at the Ministry of Interior… but the suspect has not been convicted. Thus instead of imprisonment he can get only a fine. Usually it costs about 3000 rubles (about 100 dollars) to exclude a person from the database” (Y.Y., law-enforcement officer, record of standing 16 years, Kazan).

Advanced release of detained gang members.

68The facts of advanced release from detention for financial reward were mentioned very often by our experts that proves high prevalence of this service:

“For example, a person spent two days in a bull-pen and to avoid spending another eight days he pays 100 bucks” (P., former law-enforcement officer, record of standing 15 years, Zelenodolsk).

Job placement of gang members in law-enforcement bodies.

69Many experts who participated in our study told us about the possibility of job placement of gang members in law-enforcement bodies. This fact tells us about the high level of interosculation of these two structures:

“We can assume that there are people who were specially send out to the police by organized crime. There is such a feeling when you look at some officers, especially young… you start thinking why they came to work in the police?” (V.N., law-enforcement officer, record of standing 12 years, Kazan).

70The most scandalous are cases when gang members purposefully train future “agents” helping them to enter the key institutions of secondary and high education in Tatarstan that prepare law-enforcement officers (Elabuga Special Secondary Police School, Kazan Juridical Institute of the Ministry of Interior, etc.). According to our experts, then the graduates are placed in a job and promoted. We can suppose that such officers heartily work off the investments during the whole term of their service at the law-enforcement agencies.

b) Support during economic activity

Support in organizing and running a business.

71As it was clarified during the research, law-enforcement officers as the representatives of institutionalized power structures can render important assistance to the legal and illegal businesses of a gang member. Such assistance varies from settling the problems with municipal administration to providing information about the future partners:

“Gang members use police officers, people who work in the office of the Public Prosecutor and even officers from the Department for the Struggle against Organized Crime for their business purposes. These officers can arrange places on the market after talking with a director; they can guard against all administrative delays; protect against other gangs if it is needed.” (F., former law-enforcement officer, record of standing 4.5 years, Kazan).

72According to some experts, the average police executive often additionally work as a security guard in the gang members’ firms. Such involvement in economic relations makes the illegitimate ties even stronger.

Solving problems in other law-enforcement bodies.

73As our research has shown, gang members actively use interdepartmental ties of law-enforcement agencies. We repeatedly came across cases, when police officers helped gang member to get back a driving license from the traffic police after an incident, to investigate traffic incidents in favor of a gang member; or when they help to speed up car registration, or strike cars off the register or even to solve problems with municipal or regional administration for criminals.

Struggle against competing business.

74Illegitimate ties in law-enforcement agencies can be utilized by gang members in their struggles against business competitors. According to our experts, the methods of such struggle can vary from a simple warning to actually taking action against a competitor.

c) Support during investigation process, court proceedings and imprisonment

75Further we will examine the mechanisms and varieties of using illegitimate ties in the law-enforcement agencies by gang members during the different stages of criminal procedure: from investigation to the court proceedings and co-operation in the institutions of confinement.

Investigation of a case for the sake of a gang.

76There is an opinion that every gang related case has an interested party, because if the members of one gang are convicted it will become weak, which is advantageous for the competing groups. However not all gang related cases are made to order.

Support of gang member during an investigation.

77As the interviews have shown, members of organized criminal groups have plenty of possibilities to avoid criminal prosecution and commit various crimes with impunity using their ties in the law-enforcement agencies. If the case already came to investigation phase, gang member can be provided with the following services: various consultations, information about attestations and pressure on witnesses, assistance in reducing penalty, reclassification of crimes, etc.:

“To do everything possible to let gang members be released without further criminal prosecution or get the minimal sentences, including conditional; discover procedural infringements; influence upon witnesses of crime by means of bribery or threat. If it comes out that witness really has valuable information, they are trying to bribe him, but towards ordinary workers they usually not go beyond the threat of physical violence. Gangs can count their money and will never give it for nothing.” (S., law-enforcement officer, record of standing 4 years, Kazan).

Negligence and concealing information on a case.

78According to our experts, pressure on the officers during investigation can lead to their criminal negligence. They can, for instance, conceal the on-line data on gang related criminal cases, which substantially complicates the investigation. In addition gang membership of a person on trial can be concealed to reduce the measures of punishment.

Handing over the case to another investigator.

79This is another way to influence the investigation process: if the case goes to another investigator this can give a chance to ‘let it drop’.

Release from custory.

80The member or members of an organized criminal group can be released from custody for a substantial financial reward; sometimes gang members are even released to be able to collect money:

“I was several times addressed at night by gang members who wanted to borrow some money to take out a person from police custory before the case would be registered. Another person was released from custody to let him find 15 thousand dollars for the bribe. It was a serious case on coinage offence” (M., 40 years old, businessman, record of standing 14 years, Kazan).

Closing criminal cases.

81The possibility of ceasing or closing a criminal case was mentioned rather often by our experts. One of them described the situation when the criminal prosecution on a grave crime was stopped against a  bribe in Naberezhnie Chelny:

“Two minor girls – 14 years old - were raped in Naberezhnie Chelny this summer by Gypsies, also 14-15 years olds. The case was taken to the Prosecutor’s Office and then closed. Parents of these Gypsies paid 300000 rubles (about 10000 USD); they collected this amount in four hours. Their Baron lives on my territory, and he mentioned the amount. They gave the money to the Prosecutor’s Office and to the girls’ parents. That’s all” (K.N., law-enforcement officer, record of standing 6 years, Naberezhnie Chelny).

Support during the court proceedings.

82As our experts have stated, gang members have broad ties with judicial authorities. These ties are actualized when the case is transferred to the court, and the key service in this connection is to ‘win the case’, which as a rule means a decrease in punishment:

“…also falsification of criminal cases, their reclassification. For example, some documents or evidences are removed from the case and a murder is reclassified to the careless handling of weapons; group fight to the petty hooliganism, etc. Also tampering with judges: advocates say that if we find the certain sum of money, it will be such-and-such sentence” (M., 40 years old, businessman, record of standing 14 years, Kazan).

d) Co-operation during imprisonment

83Ties between gang members serving their sentences and officers working in the penal system were not in a specific focus of our research, but we came across the cases of such co-operation in our interviews. According to our experts, the assistance can take forms of information exchange, transfer of money or goods to imprisoned gang members, temporary release during incarceration, grant of parole, etc.

e) Other support and services

84The following services that can be provided to gang members by law-enforcement officers were also mentioned in our interviews: “making forged passports”, “getting access to the high levels of state power through the officers working at law-enforcement agencies”, “elections related activities: some candidates use police for ‘black agitation [i.e. secretly conducting activities of various types to undermine other candidates]’ ”, etc.

4) Utilization of Illegitimate Ties with Gang Members by Law-Enforcement Officers

85The next part of the article will be devoted to the mechanisms and variants of utilization of illegitimate ties with gang members by law-enforcement officers. As the research has shown, law-enforcement officers have much less possibilities of favorable utilization of the ties with organized criminal groups. Often the interaction develops to the simple acts of selling information or services. At the same time, some officers nevertheless try to utilize the ties not only for their personal benefits, but also for raising the effectiveness of investigating work.

а) Support during criminal investigation

Information exchange.

86According to our experts, officers are aware that gang members have access to the information that can be very helpful in their everyday work and in criminal investigations in particular:

“We exchange information, we can find out who has committed the crime through gang members. They can also help us to detect some drug addicts. But they only give information. We come to arrest ourselves.” (R., law-enforcement officer, record of standing 3 years, Kazan).

87The following quotation shows the mechanism when the service implies the service in response. The value of co-operation for both sides is accentuated by the willingness to follow the “rules of the game”:

“Information is provided when gang members are on the hook. But such information can also be given as a gratitude for previous help. For example, when police officer helped gang member to avoid responsibility for a petty offence such as hooliganism or theft. The deals are usually made with adult gang members…” (S., law-enforcement officer, record of standing 4 years, Kazan).

88As already mentioned, police officers often become instruments of the struggles between rival gangs. But the conflict among criminal groups can also be a good resource for the officer dealing with gang related crimes.

Using gangs to demonstrate work effectiveness.

89As our research has shown police officers often use the ties and information from gang members to demonstrate the effectiveness of their work. First of all it concerns the execution of plans on arresting particular categories of offenders. In one interview with gang member we came across the situation when the police officer first tried hard to support a gang and then demonstratively investigated the crimes related to this gang showing to police authorities how he can work.

Help in normalizing a criminal situation.

90In a small town of the Tatarstan Republic we discovered cases of co-operation of police and gang members for the purposes of normalizing the critical criminal situation in the region.

Help in crimes clearance.

91Co-operation with gang members is normalized in the discourses of law-enforcement officers because the information obtained using such ties helps in the clearance of crimes:

“For example, I know the leader of one very influential gang in Kazan. Five years ago I locked him up. He has been released and sometimes he comes to my office, we talk, I ask him questions, and he answers. I owe him nothing and he owes me nothing. Is it corruption? But what is real that up to 70 per-cent of crimes are cleared after such meetings…” (S.P., law-enforcement officer, record of standing 11 years, Kazan).

92At the same time, as it was stressed in several interviews, information support and help in clearance of crimes do not guarantee immunity for gang members. It is worth mentioning that some experts told us about the agents who exist in almost every gang and regularly provide useful information.

93According to our respondents, this sometimes happens when a gang against which an action was brought specially gives up one of its members in order for the crime to be cleared and for other members (accessories or organizers) to avoid responsibility:

“Gang leaders sometimes give up one member who plays a secondary role in the gang, so called ‘terpila’ (can be translated as a person who suffered). He takes the responsibility for the crime he did not commit. This was made to disclose crime and make the police reduce their efforts; they do not want the police to ‘dig deeper’.” (A.F., law-enforcement officer, record of standing 6 years, Naberezhniye Chelny).

b) Support for police officer’s illegal activities

94When police officers themselves violate the law, it is hard for them to manage without the support of organized criminal groups. One of our respondents from a gang told us the following story:

“Once I was sitting in a bull-pen for stealing a car. There were three of us, and one was offered to do the following: cops agree to forget about the crime if we took the car to the appointed place and soldl it to one person. Then we could easily go away, nobody would touch us. My friend is a quirky guy, so he agreed. We were released…” (Sh., 25 years old, gang member, Kazan).

c) Help in solving personal problems

95As the analysis shows, law-enforcement officers most often ask gang members to render them private services.

Solving the problems of police officers’ children

96When a child or a close relative of an officer get into a mess (for example, he or she is systematically beaten or mugged by gang members) ties with the criminal organizations can be useful. The following case was relates to us by a gang member:

“For example, the brother of a police officer is in trouble with gang members at school. He will not go there to investigate this himself; he will ask us for help. We will come and settle the problem. The brother enjoys authority… Mafia came to talk for him” (A., 22 years old, gang member, Zelenodolsk).

97In addition, officers quite often use the small services provided by the firms which are under control of organized crime as a reward for supporting gang members.

98Thus the key difference between the practices of utilization of illegitimate ties performed by gang members and law-enforcement officers is that members of organized criminal groups mainly use such ties for the reproduction of criminal activities (concealing of old and committing new crimes, avoiding criminal responsibility on every stage of investigation and court proceedings, etc.); in turn, officers mainly use such ties for the clearance of crimes that are not related to gangs and for the solution of personal material and financial problems.

Conclusion: Understanding Illegitimate Ties

99As we can see from the analysis, corruption in Russia cannot be simply reduced to bribe taking or abuse of public authority. From one side, the illegitimate ties between law-enforcement officers and members of organized criminal groups represent the specific form of a traditional social network based on friendship and family ties and characterized by mutual exchange and support in a situation of scarce resources. The social capital of every individual consists of ties with people from different spheres of social life, thus ties in the police and/or organized criminal groups can be considered as a social buttress because the actualization of such ties can be demanded at any time. The high level of job-instability among law-enforcement officers (they can be fired or downgraded) and gang members (they can be killed or put to prison) leads to the aspiration to rapidly accumulate social and economic capital. This quite often results in the erosion of any professional, ethical or legal norms, the willingness to use all possible means, including criminal, to succeed as fast as possible. Thus the representatives of both social groups studied here are trying “not to waste time while they have power”, because “nobody knows what will happen tomorrow”. Therefore the breadth of distribution and the range of utilization of illegitimate ties by both gang members and law-enforcement officers are enormous.

100The trend to keep these ties “for life” and to make them more informal and even friendly, in our opinion, also comes out from the desire to create a stable platform that does not strongly depend on social and professional status. As an example we can mention a fact that gang members often help former law-enforcement officers who previously helped them to find a job when their service is complete. In other words, the gang provides certain “social guarantees” to their partners. Such cases tell us about the systemic character of the described ties. Knowledge about the mutual advantages of co-operation between “cops and bandits” contributes to the constant reproduction of illegitimate ties as their presence is connected with the only possibility to earn one’s living and to survive in hard social and economic conditions.

101From another side the research has shown the trend to formalization and commercialization of illegitimate ties, which becomes apparent in the practices of direct sale of services. This new trend results from the ‘situation in a shop’ where any person can buy goods on predetermined prices. The process of mediation changes accordingly: even an accidental person (such as witness or even people under investigation) can serve as a mediator between law-enforcement agencies and gang members. As we can see from the case of the “Moscow Brigade” mentioned at the beginning of this article and the analysis of interviews, the commercialization of illegitimate ties and the practices of free purchase and sale of services are more visible in big cities such as Moscow and Kazan. Traditional social networks based on friendship, kinship and the common place of origin are widespread in small towns.

102As was discovered in the course of the analysis, the majority of causes of corruption originate in the problems existing in the law-enforcement sphere in Russia. Macro-level causes include the qualitative changes in society after the collapse of the Soviet Union that resulted in the loss of trust in the major social institutions (such as the state, the law, and the church) and the total corruption of power institutions. According to our experts, the crisis of the last decade influenced the considerable changes in structure and relationships inside the law-enforcement agencies. This became apparent in the change of values, dissolution of morals, deformation of ethic and moral principles of the officers when professional duties were receded into the background, giving a way to the desire of earning money. Experts also mentioned such causes as a fall of prestige and authority of law-enforcement officers, low legal assistance and salary, an insufficient level of education and training, the hiring of “accidental people” into the power bodies, etc. In many expert judgments, we have found nostalgic feelings about the sense of collectivism that was typical for Soviet law-enforcement agencies. Individualization and the lack of spirit of a ‘professional corporation’ in the police were compared to friendly and even family-like relationships in the gangs. It was mentioned in some interviews that the governing body of the law-enforcement agencies in a certain sense gets an advantage from the situation when personnel commits crimes. Here the rule of mutual responsibility begins to work, and the officers start to cover up for each other if they know that everybody has unclean hands. The second set of causes of corruption includes the institutionalization of the mechanisms of conversion of power to financial resources when bribes, purchase and sale of services, and extortion become widespread social practices. Moreover, the clans based on common place of origin, friendship or kinship are common in Tatarstan Republic; the ties inside such clans can only be maintained by the mutual exchange of services.

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1 See: Rashbaum, K. William, “Detectives Killed for Mob, Indictments Say”, New York Times, March 11, 2005; Feuer, Alan and Rashbaum K. William, “Blood Ties: 2 Officers' Long Path to Mob Murder Indictments”, New York Times, March 12, 2005
2 Makarov, Fedor, “Tragedia po Khalatnosti”, Report on Radio “Mayak”, September 16, 2004. Available at:
3 6 tonn geksogena dlia vzryvov domov vez v Volgodonsk I Moskvu sotrudnik GAI, News Reports on, February 27, 2003. Available at:
4 See: Salagaev, Alexander; Shashkin, Alexander; Sherbakova, Irina and Touriyanskiy, Elias “Contemporary Russian Gangs: History, Membership, and Crime Involvement”, in Scott Decker and Frank Weerman (eds.), European Street Gangs and Troublesome Youth Groups, Walnut Creek, Ca, Alta Mira, 2005, pp. 209-240; Salagaev, Alexander and Shashkin, Alexander “After-Effects of the Transition: Youth Criminal Careers in Russia”, in Vesa Puuronen, Jarna Soilevuo-Grønnerød, Jatta Herranen (eds.), Youth – Similarities, Differences, Inequalities, Joensuu, University of Joensuu, Reports of the Carelian Institute, no 1, 2005, pp. 154-172.
5 For the detailed analysis of the political and economical approaches to corruption see e.g.: Alt E. James and Lassen Dreyer David, “The Political Economy of Institutions and Corruption in American States”, Journal of Theoretical Politics, 15(3), 2003, pp. 341-365.
6 See e.g.: Rose-Ackerman, Susan, Corruption and Government. Causes, Consequences, and Reform, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1999; Klitgaard, Robert, Ronald Maclean-Abaroa and H. Lindsey Parris, Corrupt Cities, Washington, D.C., World Bank Institute, 2000; Treisman, D., “The Causes of Corruption: A Cross-National Study,” Journal of Public Economy, 76:3, 2000, pp. 399–457; Husted, B., “Wealth, Culture, and Corruption”, Journal of International Business Studies 30, 1999, pp. 339-60.
7 See e.g.: Ostrom, Elinor, Governing the Commons, New York, Cambridge University Press, 1990; Olson, Mancur, “Dictatorship, Democracy, and Development”, American Political Science Review, 87(3), 1993, pp. 567-76.
8 See e.g.: Brunetti, A. and B. Weder, “A Free Press is Bad News for Corruption”, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliches Zentrum der Universität Basel Discussion Paper, No. 9809, 1998; Stapenhurst, R., The Medias Role in Curbing Corruption, World Bank Institute, 2000.
9 See e.g.: Sajo, Andras, “From Corruption to Extortion: Conceptualization of Post-Communist Corruption”, Crime, Law & Social Change, 40, 2003, pp. 171–194.
10 Little, W. and E. Posada-Carbo (eds.), Introduction in Political Corruption in Europe and Latin America, Hampshire, New York, Macmillan – St. Martin’s Press, 1996. – P. 2.
11 Treisman, D., “The Causes of Corruption: A Cross-National Study,” Journal of Public Economy, 76:3, 2000, pp. 399–457.
12 Tanzi, Vito, “Corruption, Governmental Activities, and Markets”, IMF Working Paper, No. 94/99, 1994; Rose-Ackerman, Susan, Corruption: A Study in Political Economy, New York, Academic Press, 1978.
13 See also: Klitgaard, Robert, Controlling Corruption, Berkeley, University of California Press, 1998.
14 See e.g.: Friedrich, C.J., Pathologie der Politik. Die Funktion der Mißstände: Gewalt, Verrat, Korruption, Geheimhaltung, Propaganda, Frankfurt, New York, Herder & Herder, 1973.
15 Höffling, C., Korruption als soziale Beziehung, Opladen, Leske und Budrich, 2002.
16 See: Chambliss J. William, “Vice, Corruption, Bureaucracy and Power”, Wisconsin Law Review, 4, 1971, pp. 1150-1173.
17 See e.g.: Punch, Maurice, Conduct Unbecoming: The Social Construction of Police Deviance and Control, London, New York, Tavistock Publications, 1985.
18 See: Shleifer, Andrei and Robert W. Vishny, “Corruption”, Quarterly Journal of Economics 108, 1993, pp. 599-617.
19 See e.g.: Olson, Mancur, “Why the Transition from Communism is So Difficult”, Eastern Economic Journal, Fall 1995, pp. 437-461; Shleifer and Vishny, op. cit.; Shelley, Louise, “Can Russia Fight Organized Crime and Corruption?”, Tocqueville Review/ La Revue Tocqueville, Vol. XXIII, # 2, 2002, pp. 37-55.
20 Alt and Lassen, op. cit.; Kneen, Peter, “Political corruption in Russia and the Soviet Legacy”, Crime, Law & Social Change, 34, 2000, pp. 349–367.
21 See e.g.: Mishin, G.K., Korruptsiia: Ponyatie, Sushchnost’, Mery Ogranicheniia, Moscow, 1991; Kabanov, P.A. Korruptsiia I Vziatochnichestvo v Rossii, Nizhnekamsk, 1995; Vedernikova, O.N. “Osnovnie Napravleniia Bor’by s Korruptsiei”, in Korruptsiia i Bor’ba s Ney, Moscow, Rossiyskaia Kriminologicheskaia Assotsiatsiia, 2000, pp. 127-132; Selikhov, N.V., Korruptsiia v Gosudarstvennom Mekhanizme Sovremennoi Rossii (Teoreticheskie Aspekty), Avtoreferat dissertatsii kandidata iuridicheskikh nauk, Ekaterinburg, 2001.
22 See: Monitoring Zloupotreblenii Administrativnym Resursom v Khode Federalnoi Kampanii po Vyboram v Gosudarstvennuiu Dumu Rossiyskoi Federatsii v Dekabre 2003 Goda. Itogovii Doklad, Centre for Anti-Corruption Studies and Initiatives ‘Transparency International – Russia’, Moscow, 2004.
23 Peregudov S., Semenenko, I., “Lobbizm v Politicheskoi Sisteme Rossii”, Mirovaya Ekonomika I Mezhdunarodnie Otnosheniia, #9, 1996, pp. 28-42.
24 Shelley, Louise, “Post-Soviet Organized Crime: A New Form of Authoritarianism”, in Williams, Phil (ed.) Russian organized crime. The new threat?, London, Frank Cass Publishers, 2000, pp. 122-138; Shelley, Louise, “Can Russia Fight Organized Crime and Corruption?”, Tocqueville Review/ La Revue Tocqueville, Vol. XXIII, # 2, 2002, pp. 37-55; Klebnikov, Paul, Godfather of the Kremlin: Boris Berezovsky and the Looting of Russia, New York, Harcourt, 2000.
25 See: Raznoobrazie Stran i Raznoobrazie Korruptsii (Analiz Sravnitelnikh Issledovanii). Analiticheskii Doklad, Moscow: Regional public foundation ‘Informatics for Democracy’ (INDEM), 2001. Available at:; Sattarov, G. A. (ed.), Anticorruption Policy, Moscow, INDEM Foundation, 2004.
26 See e.g.: World Bank report “Anticorruption in transition: a contribution to the policy debate”, no. 20925, a World Free of Poverty series, 7 October, 2000, Washington. Available at:
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Electronic reference

Alexander Salagaev, Alexander Shashkin and Alexey Konnov, “One Hand Washes Another : Informal Ties Between Organized Criminal Groups and Law-Enforcement Agencies in Russia”The Journal of Power Institutions in Post-Soviet Societies [Online], Issue 4/5 | 2006, Online since 27 November 2006, connection on 27 November 2022. URL:; DOI:

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About the authors

Alexander Salagaev

Professor, Director of the Non-Governmental Organisation “Centre for Analytic Studies and Development”, Kazan, Russia

Alexander Shashkin

Senior Researcher, Sector for the Study of Social Deviance, Institute of Sociology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia

Alexey Konnov

PhD student, Kazan State Technological University, Department of Public Administration and Sociology, Kazan, Russia

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