Over the past 20 years, the role of Russian organized crime in Europe has shifted considerably, Mark Galeotti, a senior researcher at the Institute of International Relations Prague and coordinator of its Centre for European Security, a widely-published specialist on Russian security issues, wrote in his analytical material published by the European Council on Foreign Affairs.
According to Galeotti, today, Russian criminals operate less on the street and more in the shadows: as allies, facilitators and suppliers for local European gangs and continent-wide criminal networks.
The Russian state is highly criminalized, and the interpenetration of the criminal `underworld` and the political `upperworld` has led the regime to use criminals from time to time as instruments of its rule, he said.
Russian-based organized crime groups in Europe have been used for a variety of purposes, including as sources of `black cash,` to launch cyber attacks, to wield political influence, to traffic people and goods, and even to carry out targeted assassinations on behalf of the Kremlin.
Galeotti also added infographics with the location of the Russian-based organized crime (RBOC) and its routes into Europe. The Ukrainian city of Odesa is depicted as one of the main smuggling hubs of the Russian mafia.