How Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has affected organized crime, the mafia
On February 24th, 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin shocked the world with a military offensive against the neighboring country of Ukraine. This eventually sent hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian citizens fleeing to the surrounding countries of Poland, Romania, et cetera. With the state of Ukraine in chaos, what are the organized crime organizations up to?
With a ranking of 144 out of 177 on the Corruption Perception Index, there’s no doubt that Ukraine has seen its fair share of organized crime. Even with the newly introduced anti-corruption law, the country would need years to see any positive effects. Many of the “self defense volunteers” actually are gangsters fighting alongside the corrupt elite, while criminals are rising through the ranks in locally established militias. Ukrainian criminal organizations have been seamlessly integrated into Russian organized crime for years now. Upon first reports, organized criminals in Ukraine seem to be cooperating now more than ever with their Russian peers. The Ukraine factions are currently being integrated into the Russian syndicates, even as Russian soldiers attempt to storm the Ukrainian capital.
During the previous annexation of Crimea where the Kremlin was establishing their new Russian subordinates in the region, criminal groups based in Moscow were also sending “ambassadors” to establish connections with the local clans. An incursion of $4.5 billion in federal development funds this year may be of interest to the Russian organized criminals for embezzlement and other fraudulent crimes.
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, we have been seeing a police, medical, and firefighting force in shambles. This ultimately leads to a steady increase in criminal schemes on the ground. Among these include narcotic sales, offering “protection” to residences and businesses for a fee, and stealing property using fake documents that makes it appear the owner signed away the rights.
According to sources gathered by About The Mafia, the rest of Europe is seeing a spike in criminal activity as well. drugs and cocaine originating from Afghanistan and Latin America respectively are currently being rerouted through Greece and the Balkans. Stolen automobiles from Scandinavia are also being seen on this new route. In addition, Russian police recently dismantled an operation stemming from the east that moved “illicit goods” into six different regions in Russia.
Make no mistake, the current crisis creates the perfect opportunity for more money laundering by businesses. With the aforementioned intense corruption in Ukraine, it was reported $37 billion went missing during President Yanukvych’s administration. It would not be surprising if there were any shady financial moves being made in Ukraine today.
The head of the BKA in Germany previously claimed that Moscow’s assistance in combating Russian organized crime in the region was starting to lack. This increase in organized crime around Ukraine could end up working in Russia’s favor.