Streetwise Professor

December 1, 2010

It’s Not Utah

Filed under: Politics,Russia — The Professor @ 9:08 pm

Or Torino, or Lillehammer,or Nagano, or Vancouver.  But it’s where the 2014 Winter Olympics are supposed to be: Sochi, Krasnodar Krai, Russia.

And the crucial difference between Sochi and environs and Utah in is not a lack of Mormons in the former. It is that Krasnodar is a violent place where large swaths of territory are ruled by criminals.

The Krai was the scene of a violent incident that horrified all of Russia.  That bears repeating: it was the scene of a violent incident that appalled all of Russia.  And that’s saying something.

Here are some of the details:

The Krasnodar Territory earlier this month shook the whole of Russia with the appalling mass murder of 12 people, including four children, in the village of Kushchevskaya, in what appears to be gangland killings. Six local gangsters, including one rumored to be the ringleader, were promptly arrested in a rapid 12-day investigation, which is not yet over. In the early hours of this morning, a ninth suspect – Igor Cherny, aka “Amur” – was also arrested.

But for many in Kuban, the expanse along the Kuban River which flows into the Sea of Azov, the mass murder is just one tragedy linked with corruption in the region that was not simply shunned by the rest of Russia. “The tragedy in the village of Kushevskaya is an open abscess on this region’s body, but it is just one single case that has received widespread social publicity and provoked some sort of reaction,” said Galina Konovalova, who claimed that her and her husband’s business is being openly stolen from them, at a press conference in Moscow.

And it’s not just Kushchevskaya.  It’s the whole damn place:

Krasnodar Governor Alexander Tkachyov recently acknowledged that every district of his region has criminal gangs similar to the one that massacred a dozen people in the village of Kushchyovskaya on Nov. 5. “Unfortunately,” he said, “such gangs exist to varying degrees in every city in the region. Some have more of them, some have fewer, but they’re present … and their lines of support stretch up to the regional level.” That’s a rare admission from a governor, but it would be naive to believe that other regions do not have the same problem.

. . . .

The gang operating in Kushchyovskaya was large, it owned property, and one of its leaders was even a deputy in the local legislature. And it should come as no surprise that the gang continued to use violent methods, since the current leadership has not made public safety a priority. Strong-arm methods not only work well in modern Russia; they inspire others to adopt the same tactics and become criminals.*

Not to mention that Krasnodar is hard upon the chaotic and violent Caucasian republics of Russia.

This is not to mention the corruption and inefficiencies in building an Olympic facility from scratch in an area completely lacking in the necessary infrastructure.

I’m sure everything will turn out swell, particularly with given the fact that distinguishing between “law enforcement” and the organized criminal elements in the region is impossible.

The Vedemosti editorial quoted above (second quote) tries to muster a note of optimism:

It is entirely possible for criminal businesses to evolve — to grow in scope, to acquire new property, and to come to the realization that it is more advantageous to make money legally. That’s exactly what happened to some of the businesses that got their start during “the wild ’90s.” In a normally developing society, the overall presence of legal business grows, criminal businesses become marginalized, and the use of gangland-style methods to resolve disputes gradually becomes ineffective.

Well, maybe.  But not in three years.  And maybe not in three centuries, or three centuries beyond that: see, for instance, Sicily.

This will be an Olympics to remember.  One shudders to think for what.

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  1. The Olympics will turn out just fine. No worse than Atlanta or Athens. The Southerners are… how shall I put it… hard people. I think it’s the climate.

    Comment by So? — December 1, 2010 @ 9:26 pm

  2. When I was on the slopes in Salt Lake City, I experienced (1) the fact that alcohol there is capped at 3% and (2) an annoying Russophobe in a shared lift cabin who upon learning that I was an ethnic Russian began to rant about the totalitarianism of Putin’s regime and demanding I agree with him.

    But on the plus side, the place also had an establishment called “Dugin’s Cafe”. Though I doubt it had anything to do with Eurasianism, sadly.

    Still, I’d take the Krasnodar criminals over that any day. 🙂

    Comment by Sublime Oblivion — December 1, 2010 @ 9:50 pm

  3. The Krasnodar criminals use far more effective methods to obtain disputed agreement. I am sure in a similar setting they could have obtained your full and even enthusiastic concurrence.

    Comment by pahoben — December 1, 2010 @ 10:44 pm

  4. > Still, I’d take the Krasnodar criminals over that any day. 🙂

    No doubt. It’s easy to ignore those Krasnodar criminals while sitting somewhere on the slopes of Salt Lake City. Did not work so well for those 4 children, but hey, they were only dust on the wheels of “eurasianism”.

    Comment by Ivan — December 2, 2010 @ 2:38 am

  5. It’s all Stalin’s fault, I tell ya.

    Comment by So? — December 2, 2010 @ 4:07 am

  6. S/O, A Russophile in you completely overwhelmed any sane and clear thinking. Your attitude towards this absolutely horrifying event in Krasnodar region makes everything else you write not to be taken not even seriously but at all consider it. Grow Up!

    Comment by voroBey — December 2, 2010 @ 12:08 pm

  7. Question: how does the existence of gangs and gangsters affect the Olympics? Do they shout too loudly in the stands? What danger do they pose? For example, Atlanta had drug gangs in 1996. So did LA in 1984. How did they affect the Atlanta and LA Olympics?

    How about the 1960 Rome Olympics? Were they ruined by the Italian mafia?

    Comment by Ostap Bender — December 3, 2010 @ 1:01 am

  8. In those cases the gangs did not run the local or national government, unlike Russia.

    Comment by Andrew — December 3, 2010 @ 7:53 am

  9. All the better for the guests. Why would they ruin their own show?

    Comment by So? — December 3, 2010 @ 6:21 pm

  10. BTW, what is really amazing is that this is cossack country. I mean these people are supposed to be tough frontier-men, cowboys. Yet they let a bunch of goons lord over them. There was a TV report where they interviewed the local cossack club (or whatever they call it). The middle-aged tossers with ridiculous mos, dressed in 1910 uniforms were most incensed not about the murders and thugs being in charge, but that the media had been portraying them as ???????? ?????? – “dress-up”, phony cossacks. The irony.

    Comment by So? — December 3, 2010 @ 7:14 pm

  11. I’m not a skier, but I’ve been told that a bit of schnapps helps novices relax and learn faster.

    Comment by So? — December 3, 2010 @ 11:03 pm

  12. Nobody uses “slopes”? What? I’ve heard it used plenty times in the US (though “run” is of course more frequent). E.g. Yo, let’s go hit the slopes.

    Drinking n’ skiing is for girly men. Real hardcore skiers do it high. On a more serious note, I agree with So? – though getting blind hammered isn’t the best idea, intuitively “a bit of schnapps” *should* help novices because in the beginning the fear of falling and hence an over-cautious attitude is one of the primary factors holding them back.

    I’ve never hit Russian slopes, so I can’t really comment, but I’m sure five years is an adequate time period to build the facilities to ensure the event would be a success.

    Comment by Sublime Oblivion — December 4, 2010 @ 2:25 am

  13. @S/O: “I’m sure five years is an adequate time period to build the facilities to ensure the event would be a success.” Stop it. You’re killing me! Just overlooking the fact that they have to build *everything*–hell, they even have to build port, rail, and road facilities so they can build the actual, you know, Olympic stuff–this is Russia we’re talking about.

    This will be like the Commonwealth Games with snow (but not in Sochi proper, likely).

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — December 4, 2010 @ 1:37 pm

  14. I just want to give you non-official information about investigation of mass murder of 12 people including 4 children in the village of Kushevskaya (Krasnodarsky Kraj, Russia) – this murder received wide spread social publicity. One of the arrested person – Evgeny Gurov – was beated-up cruelly during interrogations. There is information that violence is committed to wrest avowal of guilt from him. According to one of versions Evgeny was transferred for several hours from single pre-trial prison cell to common cell where he was cruelly raped. This was done for psychological influence upon the arrestee. People think if this information about lawlessness receive worldwide publicity it will be stopped.

    Comment by Guest — December 8, 2010 @ 4:01 am

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