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Russia: Crime in the Soviet Era
Country Study > Chapter 10 > Internal Security > Crime > Crime in the Soviet Era

CRIME IN THE SOVIET ERA


Because the Soviet Union did not publish comprehensive crime statistics, comparison of its crime rates with those of other countries is difficult. According to Western experts, robberies, murders, and other violent crimes were much less prevalent than in the United States because of the Soviet Union's larger police presence, strict gun controls, and relatively low incidence of drug abuse. By contrast, white-collar economic crime permeated the Soviet system. Bribery and covert payments for goods and services were universal, mainly because of the paucity of goods and services on the open market. Theft of state property was practiced routinely by employees, as were various forms of petty theft. In the last years of the Soviet Union, the government of Mikhail S. Gorbachev (in office 1985-91) made a concerted effort to curtail such white-collar crime. Revelations of corruption scandals involving high-level party employees appeared regularly in the Soviet news media, and many arrests and prosecutions resulted from such discoveries.




Last Updated: July 1996


Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Russia was first published in 1996. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on Factba.se.

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