This book is distinctive in at least three ways. Firstly, the authors approach economic crime in Russia without its a priori stigmatization as part of the general `criminalization' of the economy. Rather they view it as a generic response to and integral part of the post-Soviet transition, and analyze the role of economic crime in the functioning/subverting of state, market and civil society institutions in the new Russia. Secondly, the book reveals the latent constituents of economic crime – the customary practices which are so widespread that they become commonly accepted or tolerated in society, but at the same time constitute and nurture an environment for economic crime. Thirdly, it offers clues for solving some of Russia's paradoxes: How do people survive if wages are not paid on time or in full, and even when paid, are still inadequate for basic living standards? If the rule of law does not rule, then what does? What are the rules of the alleged Russian disorder? How is it possible to combat corruption in a society where supposedly no agency or institution is free from it?
Most forms of Russian economic crime in the 1990s are examined in this book. The authors demonstrate how change and continuity are both factors which are crucial to an understanding of the post-Soviet order and to account for the difficulties of democratization and marketization in Russia. This work challenges the supposed transparency of the post-Soviet Russian economy for the outside world and shows how the Russian economy really works.
The idea for this book arose out of the East European Regional Programme at the 16th International Symposium on Economic Crime, held at Jesus College in Cambridge in September 1998. It includes papers presented at the Symposium together with new papers commissioned especially for this volume.