THE RISE OF white-collar and organized crime in the Eastern European (EE) nations closely parallels that of their powerful neighbor, Russia. Eastern Europe generally refers to the states formerly under the control of, or heavily influenced by the Soviet Union: Albania, Bulgaria, Czech Republic (Czechoslovakia), Hungary, Poland, Romania, and former Yugoslavia.

Once the state socialist economies collapsed in the late 1980s and early 1990s, massive economic crisis and sociopolitical dislocation created a power vacuum which has been largely filled by organized criminal elements. The economic crisis spawned by civil war and international military intervention in the Balkans also opened up opportunities for local mafias. As in Russia, neo-liberal policies, socioeconomic disparity and weak legal and democratic structures have fostered the integration of “legitimate” and “illegitimate” business. ...

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