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Challenging widely held views, this book presents a thorough account of the Russian Mafia. It charts the emergence of the group in the context of the transition to the market, the privatization of protection, and pervasive corruption. It includes reports of undercover police operations, in-depth interviews conducted over several years with the victims of the Mafia, criminals and officials, and documents from the Gulag archives. It also provides a comparative study, making references to other Mafia, such as the Japanese Yakuza, the Sicilian Cosa Nostra, and the American-Italian Mafia.