‘Transitions after transitions’ : coloured revolutions and organized crime in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan
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This dissertation addresses organized crime in post-Soviet Eurasia (Georgia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan) exploring the nexus between politics, business and crime. Based on extensive field research in the three countries the dissertation examines organized crime groups in the region and describes their inter-relationships with political and business elites, then discusses the impact of the three countries’ Coloured Revolutions on crime and corruption. The impacts of the revolutions on organized crime are situated in several variables, among them political opposition to incumbent regimes; the strength of civil society and the role of organized crime groups during the revolutionary processes; personal morals of the leaders and their views on cooperation with organized crime; and the presence and nature of the “pact” between outgoing and incoming elites.
The dissertation also takes into account larger explanatory variables, such as geography, natural resources, industry, and regional wars and documents their role in shaping organized crime. In accounting for the diverging patterns of the three countries in terms of post-revolutionary effects on crime and corruption, the role of the West, defined as a “push” factor for democratization, and the experience of earlier statehood are also considered.
The interaction between elites and criminals is regarded as a crucial part of state formation, and is characterized by shifting dominance between the actors of the underworld and upperworld. The thesis identifies points of cooperation and conflict between licit and illicit actors, and provides insight into the collusive nature of criminal networks in the post-Soviet context, arguing that the distinction between licit and illicit is frequently blurred and the representatives of the upperworld are sometimes key participants in organized criminal activity.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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