Russian police begin large-scale effort to exterminate notorious mafia

The complete liquidation of organized criminal groups has begun in Russia, according to the Russian Interior Ministry. “There are 450 large organized criminal groups operating in Russia these days. These groups exert a considerable influence on a socioeconomic and criminogenic situation in the regions,” said Russia’s Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev, in an interview to Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

According to Nurgaliyev, the total number of the members of the groups is estimated at 12,000. “For conventional purposes, I’d like to divide these criminal groups into three levels. Russia’s largest organized criminal groups are connected with foreign criminal groups; they are considered a serious danger to society. The groups are dealt by the Interior Ministry’s department specialized in fighting organized crime and terrorist activities. About 50 groups conduct their activities across several regions of Russia. The units under the chief directorates in the regions deal with those. The regional units assigned to fight organized crime take care of the remaining groups,” said Nurgaliyev.

Nurgaliyev stressed the point that a new plan to combat organized crime had been adopted and put into operation. “We implemented the first stage of the plan last March. We carried out a thorough analysis of the situation in the regions, and completed a radical update of our data base. Within two years we’re planning to take necessary steps to target leaders and most active members of the largest organized criminal groups. By the way, new efficiency criteria relating to such operations came into force this January. We used to pay special attention to the number of cases solved while investigating crimes committed by organized criminal groups. Now we shift emphasis to the number of criminal groups that were completed eliminated, and the number of group members who were convicted for their crimes,” said Nurgaliyev.

The interior minister claimed that a long-lasting stereotype about immortality of the so-called mafia had been already broken down. Last year the prosecutors brought more than 1.5 actions against almost 2,000 members of highly organized criminal groups, including actions instituted against 780 leaders of the groups. The police restored the state control over 237 economic facilities, which had been under the sway of criminal groups. The police also terminated the activities of 161 criminal enterprises.

The Supreme Court of Tatarstan reached a verdict of conviction for 179 members of an organized criminal group called “29 Complex.” The bandits were charged with murders, extortions, kidnappings and other crimes. All the accused were sentenced to lengthy terms, which add up to nearly 500 years in prison.

The police in St. Petersburg and Leningrad region put an end to the activities of two criminal groups which were involved in the illegal seizure or raiding of large plants. The investigation of the cases pertaining to the activities of criminal groups in Kemerovo region, Novosibirsk region, and Kirov region is under way.

Arguments and Facts

Translated by Guerman Grachev

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov