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The Russian MafiaPrivate Protection in a New Market Economy$
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Federico Varese

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780198297369

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/019829736X.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
The Russian Mafia

Federico Varese (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The crucial importance of property rights in the transition from a centrally planned economy to a market economy is explained as the basis for emergence of mafia groups: if trust is scarce, and the state is not able or willing to protect property rights, then there is a demand for non-state, private protection. The emergence of the Sicilian Mafia (the Cosa Nostra) is briefly described, for the study of the emergence of the Russian Mafia presented in the book is largely informed by the Sicilian case. The author explains that he treats the term ‘mafia’ as a species of a broader genus of organized crime, which is willing to offer protection to both legal and illegal transactions – although this study is mainly concerned with legal rather than illegal markets (and also does not include the role of ethnic networks as a source of protection services). The reasoning behind the choice of the city of Perm for the location of the study, the type of evidence collected there, and methods of data collection used, are outlined. A summary of the contents of each chapter of the book is also included.

Keywords:   mafia, private protection, property rights, Russian Mafia, Sicilian Cosa Nostra, transition to the market, transitional economy

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