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Organized Crime and the Rule of Law in the Russian Federation

Author(s): Alexandra V. Orlova

Journal: Essex Human Rights Review
ISSN 1756-1957

Volume: 2;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 23;
Date: 2005;
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Keywords: Organized crime

This article examines the popular perceptions of ‘organized crime’, its manipulation by variousindividual and institutional entities, and the effect such manipulation has on the development of trustin the rule of law in the Russian Federation. It explores the complex relationships between thediscourses on criminality, the root causes of crime, authoritarian state policies and human rights. Thearticle commences with an historical overview of the utilization of the concept of ‘organized crime’by political elites to pursue ulterior motives related to the accumulation and retention of power. Itfurther explores how the misuse of the concept of ‘organized crime’ by the government has shakenpopular trust in state reforms and displaced the emerging humanistic attitudes of the public. It showshow this public insecurity was used to pursue authoritarian policies under the guise of combatingorganized crime. The article then moves on to discuss contemporary policies directed againstorganized crime within the context of the Yukos case. Subsequently, the article concentrates onexploring how the misuse of the concept of organized crime undermines popular trust in the rule oflaw and results in the population finding private means of co-existing with criminal elements. It thendiscusses the failure of various institutions outside the executive branch of government to generatesufficient momentum for anti-organized crime reforms. Finally, the ‘Americanization’ of the globalfight against organized crime and its impact on Russia is examined. The author concludes that theextension of intrusive measures beyond the realm of organized crime control and the utilization ofsuch measures for political ends, undermines popular trust in the ability of the government to createa system that is subject to the rule of law. This entrenches the popular perception of democraticreforms as something that is foreign to the Russian way of life.
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