EDITORIAL: Russia is a Mafia State


Russia is a Mafia State

In the past, we’ve castigated the Moscow Times for carrying the propaganda spewed out by the Renaissance Capital brokerage house in Russia, which routinely publishes its advertising material in the guise of “op-ed” pieces and may be giving undisclosed financial support to the paper.  It’s surely the MT’s worst feature that it doesn’t warn readers about the inherent conflict of interest Renaissance staff have in “analyzing” the Russian market when they earn their living by convincing foreigners to invest in it.

So it hardly came as much suprise to us to read in the New York Times last week that William Browder of Hermitage Capital, a leading Russian investor booted out of the country for daring to demand transparancy (Mikhail Khodorkovsky was sent to Siberia for the same reason), had filed a lawsuit in New York City alleging that there are “the ties between those who took over the Hermitage companies after Mr. Browder was forced out in 2005; officers of the Federal Security Service, the successor agency to the K.G.B. known as the F.S.B.; and executives at a Renaissance group company, Renaissance Capital.”

That’s right:  Browder claims that Renaissance is in bed not just with the Russian government, but with Vladimir Putin’s KGB, and has been helping high-ranking figures in the Russian government steal billions from the Russian treasury (such charges have already been made directly against Vladimir Putin himself). 

When Browder tried to file a similar action some time ago in Russia itself, the Kremlin’s response was swift and sure:  It jailed his lawyers.  Now, Browder aims to prove that a vast conspiracy among corrupt pro-Kremlin businesses and even more corrupt Kremlin insiders has been bilking the Russian state and foreign investors out of untold billions of dollars.  How inconvenient for the Kremlin that Browder is no longer in the country and can’t be sent to Siberia like Mikhail Khodorkovksy. Then again,there’s always the Litvinenko solution, isn’t there?

It’s time for the MT to cut its ties with Renaissance and for all those outside Russia to realize that stock brokers and investment bankers in Russia simply cannot be trusted to tell the truth about the Russian market.  Their self interest, to say nothing of their fear of the Kremlin, preculdes it.  People look to the MT for unbiased insights about Russian, not pro-Kremlin propaganda that’s been bought and paid for with blood money.

11 responses to “EDITORIAL: Russia is a Mafia State

  1. An intersting piece on why Russia does not produce great detective and spy novelists.

    “Which brings us to the spy novel. Because the entire Soviet ideology was a sham, Soviet spies — in real life and in literature — always seemed, at best, to be mere shadows and, at worst, caricatures. A Graham Green or a John le Carre simply could not exist in Soviet literature.

    It seems naive, but good spy fiction requires heroes who either defend or betray real values — freedom, democracy, human rights. A communist spy could not be a hero any more than a Nazi spy could — unless he was betraying the antihuman ideology he purported to serve. And that, of course, was impossible.”


  2. Andrew, thank you for the amusement (once again) :)

  3. Mafia is not a Russian word.

  4. Neither are “is”, “not”, “a”, or “word”, so what is your point RTS?

  5. Andrew

    “Mafia is not a Russian word.”
    The shortest message I have ever made here. Rack your georgian braines of a swellhead and get it right.

  6. Well my retarded Russian friend, Mafia is now an English “common usage” term used to describe organised crime in any country.

    So, as the rest of your sentence was in English too, please explain the point of your (as usual) retarded post.

  7. For example



    Ma·fi·a (mäf-)
    1. A secret criminal organization operating mainly in the United States and Italy and engaged in illegal activities such as gambling, drug-dealing, protection, and prostitution.
    2. Any of various similar criminal organizations, especially when dominated by members of the same nationality.
    3. A secret criminal organization operating mainly in Sicily since the early 19th century and known for its intimidation of and retribution against law enforcement officials and witnesses.
    4. often mafia Informal A tightly knit group of trusted associates, as of a political leader: “[He] is one of the personal mafia that [the chancellor] brought with him to Bonn” (Christian Science Monitor).

    Of course Русская мафия is Russian.

    • “Of course Русская мафия is Russian.”

      Nope, not quite. I you read your own link (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_mafia) you will find the following:

      “The Russian Mafia (Russian: Русская мафия, Russkaya mafiya), Red Mob (Красная мафия, Krasnaya mafiya) or Bratva (Братва; slang for “brotherhood”, which applies to all gangs, including rivals) — often transliterated as Mafiya — are names designating a diverse group of organized crime syndicates originating in the former Soviet Union (Russia and the CIS). Since the 1991 fall of the USSR, these groups have amassed considerable worldwide power and influence.”

      (P.S. Also check the comment on the ethnicity of the mafia)

      For some more advanced (lol) reading:

      perhaps it would be best if we got our facts right and were a bit more precise before we went on our high hobby-horse spouting accusations of retardation, wouldn’t it Andrew?

      • Now GDP, you are the retard.

        In the context of RTS’s comment I was stating that “Русская мафия is Russian” as in it is a Russian phrase.

        Go and do some more research chump.

        As for ethnicity:

        National and Racial Composition
        The Russian mafia is not limited to ethnic Russians, but to many nationalities from the former Soviet Union, most of which are now collectively known as the Commonwealth of Independent States. There are many stereotypes of the Russian mafia, including that it is dominated by Jews and Chechens.

        Chechens indeed make up a disproportionate (in relation to the size of their population) amount of Russian mafia members inside of Russia (mostly in large cities like Moscow and St. Petersburg) and Ukraine, and (arguably) Belarus. However, their presence is severely limited in other countries where the Russian mafia operates, notably the United States and Israel. Thus, while noticeable within the mafia’s organization in Russia, Chechens play a small role in the Russian Mafia’s overseas membership.

        Russian Jews are also present in the Mafia structure, however the subject is complicated by several factors. First, more Jews are present in the Russian mafia’s overseas operations than inside Russia because Russian Jews were more likely to successfully receive permission to emigrate the USSR via political refugee status. Second, despite Israel’s Law of Return’s explicit restriction of all immigrants (regardless of religion) with criminal implications from receiving citizenship, many Jewish Russian mobsters use evasive measures to still receive Israeli citizenship. Additionally, non-Jewish Russian mobsters often fraudulently claim Jewish ancestry in order to gain easier movement in and out of Israel (where the Russian Mafia has established a large operating base). Conversely, some Jews in the mafia either actively hide or do not acknowledge their Jewish background for various reasons. Finally, many ethnic Russians have partial Jewish ancestry, which they may or may not acknowledge. Because of these factors, it is difficult to determine the number of Jews in the Russian mafia. And while they by no means dominate the organization, a significant number of Russian mafia members do have Jewish roots.

        The Russian Mafia also has a multitude of other nationalities such as Ukranians, Belarusians, Armenians (tied to Armenian Power gang), Moldovans, Khazaks, Uzbeks, Georgians, Dagestanis, Azeris, and others. Additionally, countries such as Armenia, Georgia, Ukraine, Estonia, Lithuania, Belarus, and Moldova have their own mafia organizations which have extensive links to the Russian mafia.

        NOTE: The majority of organized crime groups and their members within Russia are ethnically Russian. Furthermore, the majority of violent organized crime groups and their members are also ethnically Russian within Russia’s borders.

        But to establish accurate statistics of the ethnic makeup of all organized crime members throughout Russia is nearly impossible – Mainly because most businessmen in Russia have ties to organized crime and are often labeled as gangsters (which in most cases they are not). This sometimes creates the perception of a high number of Jewish gangsters involved in Russian organized crime when in fact many of these “Gangsters” are simply Jewish businessmen with ties to organized crime.

        Furthermore, Russian organized crime groups operating in the United States usually have high percentage of Jewish members simply because Jewish Russians immigrate at much higher percentage then ethnic Russians (Soviet Jews were also allowed to leave the Soviet Union while ethnic Russians were not).

        The high percentage of Jewish members in Russian organized crime groups operation within the United States can also create the perception that Jewish gangsters make up a large portion of all Russian organized crime groups within Russia and abroad. This is because Western Media does not usually cover organized crime activities within Russia and focuses most of it’s coverage of Russian organized crime within the United States.


  8. Going back to sell-side analysis of brokerage business i think that anyway theres is nothing to write about Russian companies anymore. People used to get detailed company’s research in the old days and it used to be useful to go and check production site and talk to management. Now we have a bunch of state owned inefficient dogs as companies dominating Russia that just suck in cash from whoever give it, just to waste it straightaway. The sell side has thus become totally useless, espicially local house as they try to guess global trends in economies and oil of which they have no idea to be frank. Its very sad for Russia.

  9. Instead of citing some blog of unknown accrediatation, validity and accuracy, why don’t you try and find a serious academic paper that supports these rather incredulous claim you make? But then again I’ve noticed you have little to do with anything academic.

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