Russian politicians, business protect mafia


Sixty-nine suspected members of a Georgian mafia gang were arrested in a Europe-wide operation. Police believe the gang is linked to a Russian mobster, Gennady Petrov, now on trial in Spain. Meanwhile, the main target of the operation, Lasha Shushanashvili, escaped because of lack of cooperation from Greek police.

The Russian mafia, and by extension the organised crime syndicates in the former Soviet republics, have gained more power and are more dangerous than the Italian mafia families. The reason is that the Russian mafia enjoys the protection of Russia's political and business structures, Spanish daily El País reports.

The Russian mafia has close ties to members of the former Soviet nomenklature. This explains the trouble in irradicating the Russian mafia. Every time that Spanish authorities investigating the activities of Russian organised crime have called for cooperation from their Russian counterparts, they have faced nothing but trouble.

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