Policing Economic Crime in Russia

From Soviet Planned Economy to Privatisation

Part of the CERI/Sciences Po. series
September 2011 9781849040655 288pp


In analysing how economic crime was managed in Russia, from the Brezhnev era to the Yeltsin years, this book reveals the historical roots of the ‘criminal problem’ that has marked Russian politics since the late 1980s. During the closing decades of the Soviet regime, the daily struggle against shortages of goods and services precipitated a rapid increase in the black market and other underground practices, visible to all, but still deemed illegal. How did Soviet police officers and judges select the cases they dealt with on a daily basis? And how were the funds and manpower dedicated to combating ‘economic crime’ actually deployed?

Law enforcement agencies also had to deal with the aftermath of Mikhail Gorbachev’s liberal economic reforms. Russia’s economy underwent far-reaching change, its judicial framework proved obsolete to combat the new challenges and its police woke up to the possibility of privatising or selling their professional knowhow. Drawing on first hand research and interviews with criminals and police officers, this scrupulous study investigates the changing nature of criminal law and policing before and after the fall of the Soviet state.


‘A welcome addition to the burgeoning literature on why Russia is experiencing this race to the bottom … essential reading for those interested in the privatisation process and its larger consequences for Russian society, as well as those who study law enforcement institutions. Favarel-Garrigues has gathered original data that he uses to good effect in analysing this critical period of Russian economic development.’ – Slavic Review


Gilles Favarel-Garrigues is a researcher at CERI Sciences Po, Paris, specialising in law enforcement in Russia and global campaigns against transnational crime.

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