Crimintern: How the Kremlin uses Russia’s criminal networks in Europe

A policy brief published by the European Council on Foreign Relations details the origins and operations of Russian-based organized crime (RBOC). Following the wild 90s in Russia, Putin restructured the Russian underworld so that gangsters would no longer challenge the state, but rather serve it. Deep ties between RBOC and Russian intelligence agencies have since emerged, and the former often works as subcontractors for the latter. RBOC groups are now viewed as criminal service providers in European and global markets. Their services include drug smuggling, human trafficking, assassinations, surveillance, cyberattacks, holding title to assets and raising black cash for covert Russian operations. RBOC groups are commonly operating in areas where there are Russian-speaking communities, Russian business interests and political ties to Moscow.


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