Over the past 30 years, the very notion of crime has undergone significant revision in the Russian context. Crimes against the state such as counterrevolutionary activity, membership in banned organizations, and publication of samizdat materials were seen in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) as more perfidious than “common” criminal actions; however, the definitions changed rapidly as Mikhail Gorbachev abandoned totalitarianism, freeing dissidents and ending the gulag system.
   The most pernicious crime in contemporary Russia is the result of the growth of the mafia, which has expanded greatly since 1990. Contract killings, extortion, racketeering, and other illicit activities connected to organized crime became frighteningly normal during the years of the Yeltsin administration. The spread of the narcotics trade, particularly the transshipment of opium and heroin from Afghanistan to Europe, has also made Russia much more crime-prone.
   In many cases, current or former government employees, especially ex-KGB agents, were complicit in these undertakings. As a result of conflicts in the neighboring republics and corruption in the police and army, large numbers of weapons made their way into the hands of civilians during the first decade of independence. With the reduction of the police state, rising inequality, and the economic crisis of the early 1990s, petty crimes also skyrocketed in Russia. Money laundering and counterfeiting of foreign and domestic currencies also became rather commonplace. As the result of the country’s poorly constructed tax code, the keeping of two sets of books and tax evasion became a requisite part of daily business. The worsening of alcoholism throughout the country, on the rise since the 1980s, also led to increasing occurrences of domestic violence, rape, and theft. At one point, Russia suffered from one of the highest homicide rates in the world. Trade in black market goods during the Soviet period laid the groundwork for the development of a robust market in pirated intellectual property, such as DVDs, computer software, and music. Russia also became a major destination for stolen cars, particularly from Europe. During this period, many young women also turned to prostitution, while others were virtually enslaved and trafficked abroad for sex work.
   Under Vladimir Putin, significant improvements in the standard of living and targeted campaigns improved the overall situation significantly; officials are able to produce more reliable crime statistics than they did in the 1990s, thus making crime prevention efforts more effective. Petty crime and violent crime are on the decline; however, an explosion of terrorism from 1999 to 2005 made the situation worse as more of the police force was diverted to counterterrorism action. Ethnically motivated attacks, particularly on immigrants from the Caucasus and Central Asia, remain high; murders of Russian journalists shot up on Putin’s watch. In 2009, a study showed that crime among Russian military officers reached a 10-year high.

Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation. . 2010.

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  • crime — [ krim ] n. m. • 1160; lat. crimen « accusation » 1 ♦ Sens large Manquement très grave à la morale, à la loi. ⇒ attentat, 1. délit, faute, 1. forfait , infraction, 3. mal, péché. Crime contre nature. « L intérêt que l on accuse de tous nos crimes …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • crime — / krīm/ n [Middle French, from Latin crimen fault, accusation, crime] 1: conduct that is prohibited and has a specific punishment (as incarceration or fine) prescribed by public law compare delict, tort 2: an offense against public law …   Law dictionary

  • crime — W2S2 [kraım] n [Date: 1200 1300; : Latin; Origin: crimen judgment, accusation, crime ] 1.) [U] illegal activities in general ▪ We moved here ten years ago because there was very little crime. ▪ Women commit far less crime than men. ▪ Police… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

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  • crime — CRIME. s. m. Action meschante & punissable par les loix. Crime capital. grand crime. crime atroce, detestable. crime enorme. crime inoüi, noir, irremissible. commettre, faire un crime. faire un crime à quelqu un de quelque chose, pour dire,… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • crime — [ kraım ] noun *** 1. ) count an illegal activity or action: commit a crime (=do something illegal): She was unaware that she had committed a crime. the scene of a crime (=where it happened): There were no apparent clues at the scene of the crime …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

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  • Crime — (kr[imac]m), n. [F. crime, fr. L. crimen judicial decision, that which is subjected to such a decision, charge, fault, crime, fr. the root of cernere to decide judicially. See {Certain}.] 1. Any violation of law, either divine or human; an… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Crime — 〈[kraım] m. 6 oder n. 15〉 I 〈zählb.〉 Verbrechen, Gewalttat II 〈unz.; Sammelbez. für〉 Kriminalität; →a. Sex and Crime [engl.] * * * Crime [kra̮im ], das; s [engl. crime < afrz. crime < lat. crimen = Verbrechen]: engl. Bez. für: Verbrechen,… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • crime — Crime, et cas qu on a commis, Crimen. Un crime pour lequel y a peine de mort, ou d infamie, Capitale facinus, vel crimen. Crime de lese majesté, Perduellio. Pour certain crime ou cas, Certo nomine maleficij. Commettre un crime, ou faire une faute …   Thresor de la langue françoyse

  • crime — mid 13c., sinfulness, from O.Fr. crimne (12c., Mod.Fr. crime), from L. crimen (gen. criminis) charge, indictment, accusation; crime, fault, offense, perhaps from cernere to decide, to sift (see CRISIS (Cf. crisis)). But Klein (citing Brugmann)… …   Etymology dictionary

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