Helsingin yliopisto


Helsingin yliopiston verkkojulkaisut

Helsingin yliopisto, Helsinki 2006


Uhkakuvapolitiikka, rikosilmiöt ja kulttuuriset merkitykset

Johan Bäckman

Väitöskirja, kesäkuu 2006.
Helsingin yliopisto, valtiotieteellinen tiedekunta, sosiologian laitos.

The Eastern Mafia

Threat policy, crime phenomena, and cultural meanings

An interdisciplinary research on the crime phenomena and the threat policy relating to the organized crime and the mafia of Russia and Estonia is based on 151 expert interviews, statistics, documents, research literature, and press material. The main part of the material consists of interviews of the Finnish, Estonian and Russian police authorities specialized in the problem of organized crime, and the reports on the crime situation drawn up in the Finnish diplomatic representations in Tallinn and St Petersburg. The interviews have been gathered in the years 1996-2001. The main theoretical tools of the research are constructivist research on social problems, and political psychology. Definitional processes of social problems and cultural semantic structures behind them are identified in the analysis and connected to the analysis of the crime cases.

Both in the Anglo-American and Russian cultural frames there appears an inflated and exaggerated talk, according to which the mafia rules everything in Russia and is spreading everywhere. There is the traditional anti-Semitic paranoia in the core of this cultural symbiosis produced by Russian legal nihilism, the theory of totalitarianism of Sovietology, and the inertia of Russian anti-capitalism. To equate the Sicilian Mafia with Russia is an anachronism, since no empirical proof of systematic uncontrolled violence or absolute power vacuum in Russia can be found. In the Anglo-American policy of threat images, "the Russian mafia" was seen as a commodified conspiracy theory, which the police, the media, and the research took advantage of, blurring the line between fact and fiction. In Finland, the evolution of the policy of threat images proceeded in three phases: Initially, extensive rolling of refugees and criminals from Russia to Finland was emphasized in the beginning of the 1990's. In the second phase, the eastern mafia was said to infiltrate all over Finnish society and administration. Finland was, however, found immune to this kind of spreading. In the third phase, in the 21st century, the organized crime of Finland was said to be lead from abroad. In Finland, the policy of threat images was especially canalised to moral panics connected to "eastern prostitution". In Estonia, the policy of threat images emphasized the crime organized by the Russian authorities and politicians in order to weaken Estonia. In Russia, the policy of threat images emphasized the total criminalizing of society caused by criminal capitalism. In every country, the policy of threat images was affected by a so-called large-group identity, a term by Vamik Volkan, in which a so-called chosen trauma caused a political paranoia of an outer and inner danger.

In Finland, procuring, car theft, and narcotics crimes were at their widest arranged by the Finnish often with the help of the Estonians. The Russians had no influence in the most serious violent crimes in Finland, although the number of assassinations were at least 5, 000 in Russia in the 1990's. In Russia, the assassinations were on one hand connected to marital problems, on the other hand to the pursuit of public attention and a hoped-for effect by the aid of the murder of an influential person. In the white-collar crime phenomena between Finland and Russia, the Finnish state and Finnish corporations gained remarkable benefit of the frauds aimed at the states of the Soviet Union and Russia in 1980's-21st century. The situation of Estonia was very difficult compared to that of Russia in the 1990's, which was manifested in the stagnation of the Estonian police and judicial authorities, the crimes of the police and the voluntary paramilitary organization, bomb explosions, the rebellion called "the jaeger crisis" in the voluntary paramilitary organization, and the "blood autumn" of Eastern Virumaa, in other words terror. The situation of Estonia had a powerful effect on the crime situation of Finland and on the security of the Finnish diplomats. In the continuum of the Finnish policy of threat images, Russia and the Russians were, however, presented as a source of a marked danger.

The title page of the publication

Julkaisu on tekijänoikeussäännösten alainen. Teosta voi lukea ja tulostaa henkilökohtaista käyttöä varten. Käyttö kaupallisiin tarkoituksiin on kielletty.

© Helsingin yliopisto 2006

Viimeksi päivitetty 10.05.2006

Yhteystiedot, Contact information E-thesis Helsingin yliopisto, University of Helsinki