Criminology: Week 4

Free «Criminology: Week 4» Essay Sample
  1. Russian Organized Mafia

Russian organized crime reflects the heritage of the old system of the black market and the shadow of the Soviet economy. Russian organized crime has existed in the United States more than 20 twenty years, but during the last 5-7 years the law enforcement agencies noted a significant increase in criminal activity (Webster et al., 1997).This phenomenon in the United States was the product of cultural alienation and economic and social inequalities. Moreover, it points on the flexibility of its structure, the high level of violence in its network, the lack of a complex hierarchy characteristic of other criminal organizations.

Russian mafia involved in kidnapping for ransom, contract killings and arson attacks on life, assault and extortion, gangster usury, forgery and sale of works of art, money laundering, and fraud in the field of health insurance (Webster et al., 1997). Fraud was the most common form of criminal activity, such as evasion of state and federal excise taxes on gasoline, simulating car crashes, counterfeit credit cards, bank checks, passports and immigration documents. Financial markets and banks have also become targets of criminal operations with regard to the Russian organized crime.


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It is very important to understand that analyzing a member of organized crime in Russia consists of four criteria. The most valuable category is Vory v zakone (Shelley, 1994; Webster et al., 1997). They looked like a special caste. The second one is nomenclatura: they include former Communistic party workers and other political elite members (Shelley, 1994). However, we should not forget about a group which comprises of some ethnic minorities. Shelley (1994) have asserted that, “Often they act in conjunction with Russians, the dominant ethnic group in Russia“ (p. 354]. As Webster et al. (1997) have admitted, the fourth one is avtoriteti: they seem like tradition gangsters. Describing the picture of an average member, it is likely to assume that this is a 40-50-years old man, without higher education, who emigrated in 90-early 2000 from Russia (Webster et al., 1997).

United States law enforcement agencies in the beginning of XXI used active methods to combat illegal activities of the Russian organized crime, mainly in the field of prevention of international financial crimes and crimes in the sphere of modern computer technology and the creation of new legal barriers. Following the data provided by Webster et al. (1997), a reasonable decision to counter Russian mafia would be improving international relationships with Russia as well as other big countries to build a powerful network in this regard. The vast majority of Russian immigrants is not engaged in criminal activity, and regrets the fact that the United States law enforcement agencies, the press and the typical American is their only as Russian mafia. Overcoming this negative stereotype is linked to the problem of social movements and US media.

Trend worsening the crime situation related to transnational organized crime in the US requires a non-traditional approach to the organization of opposition to it. The essence of this method lies in the fact that it should be based on contemporary information technology and engineering, making it possible to record the movement of financial values, drugs, weapons, sales of motor vehicles, physical or legal liquidation of enterprises, moving criminals having transnational links, etc. (Shelley, 1994; Webster et al., 1997).

The reason for the prosperity of organized crime is that it provides goods and services that are in high demand, despite the fact that they are prohibited by the law, such as drugs. The fact that organized crime is present in every society and in different social groupings emphasizes that, “It is not a foreign conspiracy and conspiracy against the very nature of society” (Webster et al., 1997). It is, in fact, part of the nature of society.

  1. Yakuza

First, the historical background of the occurrence of yakuza is referred to hatamoto-yakko or kabuki-mono (kabuki-mono) and the XVII century, whose representatives derived from the classes of lower rank “hatamoto.” On the other hand, it is suggested that members of yakuza have their origin from the “mother-Yakko” and were shaped into organization to defend the village from hatamoto-yakko. Actually, this assumption of the originating of yakuza from hatamoto-yakko is based on that they have taken strange hair styles and outrageous clothes, what was worn in the era of Genroku during performances of kabuki actors.

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Despite of some differences in opinion, such researchers as Gragert (1997) agree that most of the events associated with the emergence of yakuza refer to the Edo period. Due to the isolation of Japan and restrictions on foreign trade, its own trade and agriculture have improved significantly. This circumstance led to the accumulation of power within the merchant class, and samurai put at the mercy of them – “salary,” which they paid in the form of a natural product – rice that was then sold in local markets. Subsequent natural disasters, famine and tax increases resulted into the destabilization of society fall morality and public dissatisfaction with the government. Additionally, particularly personalities, such as Ronin, appeared, who played a significant role on the crime scene in Japan. Ronin moved from a simple theft of money and violence to protecting villages from bandits and other offenders in return for a fee, of course. Modern yakuza, however, argue that it came from the ranks of the mother-yakko, refuting the origin of the series hatamoto-yakko, because they related to the theft, which the honest today’s yakuza itself does not allow.

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