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The Russian Mafia: Private Protection in a New Market Economy Hardcover – 2 Aug 2001

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 308 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (2 Aug. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019829736X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198297369
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 2.3 x 15.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 664,440 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

Varese deserves the highest praise for a stunning book that is of the very best academic quality in terms of scholarly rigour in its treatment of Soviet and post-Russia culture. This is a thoughtful, multidisciplinary examination of a complex phenomenom. The book is rich with data and each page bursts with insight from the experiences of all those connected to mafia activity. The Russian Mafia is that rare thing in acadmia-an un-put-downable book that prompts you to seek out more knowledge on who's who in Russian Business and Russian organised crime. I enjoyed reading it immensely and have learned much from it. (The British Journal of Criminology)

Federico Varese's study of the Russian mafia is aimed primarily at students of crime rather than exclusively at Russia-watchers ... With considerable intrepidity, Varese has conducted numerous interviews (and contextualised them with scrupulous documentary research) with people who have availed themselves of the mafia's services. The resulting picture of economic and social life in Perm is instructive and sobering. (The Political Quarterly)

A work of incontestable quality ... The appearance of this work must definitely be welcome, because it marks the emergence of scientific rigor in the treatment of the Russian Mafia and calls for a multidisciplinary examination of post-Soviet society. (Gilles Favarel-Garrigues, Revue d'Etudes Comparatives Est-Ouest (Paris))

Enlightening, perceptive and superbly researched. Essential reading for anybody seriously interested in the mind and heart of contemporary Russian criminal society. (John le Carré)

In his scholarly study, Varese systematically surveys the source of the problem, inventories the origins and resources of those groups providing protection, and then describes the way the relationship works. At the core of his book is an elaborate case study of the city of Perm, where he spent months working with police records, conducting interviews, and collecting newspaper stories. (Robert Legvold, Foreign Affairs)

Headlines on Russian organized crime appear regularly in the Western Press and carry alarming messages ... Now we finally have a sober, scholarly account. Unlike headline writers, Varese is cautious about the use of the term 'Mafia' ... The history of the vory-v-zakone is fascinating. (Alena Ledeneva, Times Literary Supplement)

The first comprehensive study of the Russian Mafia is by a young Italian scholar, Federico Varese. His book is an extraordinary account. (Daniele Archibugi, Il Manifesto (Rome))

About the Author

Federico Varese is at University Lecturer in Criminology and Fellow of Linacre College, Oxford. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Inside This Book

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Our journey into the world of the Russian Mafia starts with a study of the transition from a state-run to a market economy. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Barton Keyes on 4 Jun. 2004
Format: Hardcover
No understanding of contemporary Russian society is possible without an understanding of how the oligarchs raped the old State to secure their wealth. And no account of that process is complete without recourse to this account of the way that organized criminality supported and prompted mass theft. The oligarchs -- the kleptocracy -- had a mutually supportive relationship with organized crime, as this book demonstrates. Written with academic rigour yet accessible to the general reader this is an outstanding achievement and deserves a wide readership -- especially among the newspaper editors and politicians who fawn over the economic criminals who now dominate Russian society simply because they have lifted the collective wealth of ordinary Russians from their pockets and placed it in their own. An excellent companion to David Slatter's "Darkness at Dawn" or Chrystia Freeland's "Sale of the Century".
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 13 Aug. 2001
Format: Hardcover
I was given this book by a friend and found it very interesting. It is not only a book about the 'mafia', but also the transition to the market in Russia, courts, the history of Soviet criminality and an in-depth study of a city in Central Russia. All the material is tied up in a compelling argument, which is - as far as I know - highly original and persuasive. I am not suprised that a sophisticated reader like Le Carré wrote an endorsment.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Rolf Dobelli TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 20 Mar. 2007
Format: Hardcover
Running a business in Russia is every bit as unsavory as you might imagine, according to Federico Varese's thoroughly researched look at that nation's organized (but not very organized) criminals. Even the lowliest shopkeeper faces shakedowns from drug addicts and teenage thugs, as well as bribe demands from tax collectors and police. In this chaotic climate, the protection racket thrives. Pay the right person, and not only will the shakedowns end - you might even gain a business partner and a fishing buddy. But the penalties for making the wrong move can be severe. One shopkeeper who refused to pay up was burned to death in his store. Varese offers an intricately detailed look at the realities of the Russian Mafia. His excellent reporting is undermined only by his frequently academic writing style. We recommend this guide to those who are doing business in Russia or who hope to. Caveat entrepreneur.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 2 reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Corruption piggybacks on capitalism as Russian entrepreneurs balance profits and protection from organized crime. 20 Mar. 2007
By Rolf Dobelli - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Running a business in Russia is every bit as unsavory as you might imagine, according to Federico Varese's thoroughly researched look at that nation's organized (but not very organized) criminals. Even the lowliest shopkeeper faces shakedowns from drug addicts and teenage thugs, as well as bribe demands from tax collectors and police. In this chaotic climate, the protection racket thrives. Pay the right person, and not only will the shakedowns end - you might even gain a business partner and a fishing buddy. But the penalties for making the wrong move can be severe. One shopkeeper who refused to pay up was burned to death in his store. Varese offers an intricately detailed look at the realities of the Russian Mafia. His excellent reporting is undermined only by his frequently academic writing style. We recommend this guide to those who are doing business in Russia or who hope to. Caveat entrepreneur.
17 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Speculative, not to recommend 15 Feb. 2004
By Oliver McArthur - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Spending a fair amount of time perusing criminological literature I was expecting this book with great interest. Only to be disappointed: presented as a serious study on Russian mafia this book is a highly speculative piece of journalism. Unfortunately, however, it is not as easy to read. A windy introduction is followed by a collection of poorly structured chapters stuffed with unnecessary specialist jargon.
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