The transnational character of Russian organized crime, when coupled with its high degree of sophistication and ruthlessness, has attracted the world's attention and concern to what has become known as a global "Russian Mafia." Along with this concern, however, has come a fair amount of misunderstanding and stereotyping with respect to Russian organized crime groups.
Organized crime is corroding democratic institutions and processes and compromising the legitimacy of political life in both established and emerging democracies. The effects of illegal networks over political processes are multiple and range from the illicit financing of political campaigns to the formation of new legally established political parties; and from voter intimidation to collusion with emerging or established political movements and figures.
The Baltic Sea Region has undergone tremendous changes over the last two decades. Once divided by the Iron Curtain, the countries in the region have become increasingly integrated through the transition into democracy and market economy and the expansion of the EU. Organized crime has advantaged from the integration of the Baltic Sea Region by becoming increasingly transnational. This challenges law enforcement agencies to follow suit.
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The Institute for Security and Development Policy is a Stockholm-based non-profit and non-partisan research and policy organization. ISDP is dedicated to expanding understanding of international affairs, focusing on the inter-relationship between security, conflict, and development.