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A Sunny Place for Shady People

Pithy, contrarian, politically incorrect and curmudgeonly rants on sex, money, power and politics and religion and philosophy. In short: Nothing matters, everything changes and there are no guarantees. The rest is rationalization and bribery. (c) Tom Milner 2002-2003. DIRECTORY of offensive POSTS at Archives: 07/09/03. RECOMMENDED BLOGS: Archives: 07/29/03. email: theoldbuzzard AT sunnyplaceforshadypeople DOT com.

Friday, September 12, 2003
Monday, September 15, 2003

Is it politically incorrect to suggest that there are many components of the so-called Russian Mafia?

This is murky -- a dismal swamp.

The PC Police have made us all reluctant to generalize about race, ethnicity and religion, especially in assigning high crimes to particular groups.

Russian organized crime, it's generally agreed, is not confined to Russia and Russians.

It's Big Tentism.

Thus we dare not exclude the Japanese gangsters or the Colombian drug cartels.

Apparently the Russian Mafia is not monolithic and hierarchical, like the Cosa Nostra we grew up with.

Russians also lack the tradition of honor and strict rules of conduct that their Mafia predecessors refined.

The origin of the Russian Mafia lies in the cradle of the Soviet police state.

Russians had to devise clandestine and illegal ruses just to acquire the basics of life.

So, when Russians began migrating to the U.S. in vast numbers during the 1990's (a generally undertold tale) many were predisposed to criminality and subterfuge.

Life in Russia was never happy, except for the party elite.

The FBI, in May, 2000, noted that the Russians were the most highly skilled and adept of any organized crime group -- ever.

The Bureau also estimated many professional criminals immigrated or entered the U.S. with temporary visas and remained illegally.

They have concentrated on white collar fraud: banking scams, health care schemes, fuel intrigues, and stock market manipulation (pump and dump tactics, for example).

Allegedly, the Russians have teamed with the Colombians and acquired Soviet military aircraft for drug running.

Gee: all this -- and terrorism, too.


Highly recommended: Mark Danner, "Iraq: The New War," The New York Review of Books, September 25, 2003.

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