The Russian mob may return to Hungary
The Russian mob lost most of its influence in Europe by the end of the ‘90s, but it is still present in Hungary. They do not want to dominate in Europe, only take part in the trade of the black market. They differ from other criminal organizations, because they are used by the Russian secret service, according to Index.hu.
A study was published in the spring about the European agencies being more-and-more worried about Orbán’s connections with Russia, that may help the Russian mob to gain strength in Hungary again. Eastern Europe used to be one of the most important headquarters of the post-Soviet mob in the early ‘90s.
The European authorities managed to cast most of the Russian mob back to their homeland by the end of the millennium. Yelchin’s Russia was divided between different gangs at the time as a result of the long lasting crime wars. But the Kremlin realized in time how most of these gangs became nationalists, and began to use them for its own purposes.
Now the mob is present mostly in places where significant Russian colonies are present, and operate in the shadows. Cyprus, for example, is an important headquarter in Europe, because the authorities are helpless and the economy is favorable for money laundering. They also work at the intersections of illegal commercial routes, selling many “goods” from Afghan heroin through weapons and sex slaves.
There had been a tendency in the socialist countries (including Hungary) according to which the secret services were recruiting from the world of crime. Russia followed on with this custom of the Soviet Union. Authorities often offer immunity to mob people in exchange for financial or other “favors”. One of the secret agencies in the Czech Republic has already reported on how the Russian intelligence contacted such people related to criminal gangs.
One of the most flourishing branches of the mafia-secret services relation is cyber-crime. Russian intelligence often recruits hackers from the underworld, but sometimes they just “encourage” them. They have already attacked New York’s central stock market’s server in 2010.
Mark Galeotti’s study claims that there are two factors needed for the Russian mob to set foot in a country. First, Russian colonies and investors are needed, secondly: weak authority. The investment in Paks hasn’t even begun yet, but the Russian presence is already strong in the Hungarian real estate market. Our authorities are also not in top shape: see for example the case of the infamous Chechen gangster just recently. So it is quite likely that Western Europe’s concerns about Hungary are not unfounded.