Putin’s Kleptocracy and the Russian Nationalized Mafia
As deputy mayor of St. Petersburg in the 1990s, Vladimir Putin spent a lot of time with gangsters.
He collaborated with the infamous Tambov and Malyshev organized crime groups to gain control of St. Petersburg’s gambling industry.
He used his office to help launder mafia money and to arrange foreign travel for known mobsters.
And security for the Ozero dacha cooperative he co-founded with some of his former KGB pals was provided by a company run by the Tambov gang, whom Putin also helped secure a monopoly over the city’s fuel distribution network.
Putin was, in fact, an important liaison between the local government and the criminal underworld, Karen Dawisha writes in her highly acclaimed bookPutin’s Kleptocracy.
And when he moved into the Kremlin, Putin put his old mafia contacts to use as key tools of Russian statecraft.
“A significant part of Russian organised crime is organised directly from the offices of the Kremlin,” the International Business Times quoted Ben Emmerson, a prominent British attorney who represents the family of slain Russian defector Aleksandr Litvinenko, as saying.
Likewise, Russian organized crime expert Mark Galeotti noted in a recent lecture at the Hudson Institute that Putin’s Russia is “not so much a mafia state as a state with a nationalized mafia.”
Read the Remainder at Radio Free Europe