In the years after the collapse of the Soviet Union and its zone of influence, few insurgent groups had the resources necessary to confront regular armies. At the same time, state-sponsored financial support for insurgencies dramatically decreased. The pressing need to raise funds for war and the weakness of law enforcement in conflict zones create fertile conditions for organized crime; indeed, there is a mounting body of evidence correlating armed conflict and illicit economy, though the nature of this link and its impact on regional politics has not been well understood.
Conflict, Crime, and the State in Postcommunist Eurasia explores the relationship between ideologically motivated insurgents, profit-motivated crime, and state institutions in eight conflict zones. Through detailed case studies, the contributors demonstrate how the operations and incentives of insurgents may emerge and shift over time: for some armed groups, crime can become an end in itself beyond a financial means, but not all armed groups equally adapt to illicit commerce. They also show how the criminalization of state institutions is a lingering concerns even after armed conflicts end. Conflict, Crime, and the State in Postcommunist Eurasia places the case studies along a continuum of political and criminal behavior, examining the factors that motivate insurgents to seek out criminal alliance, how this connection affects the dynamics of conflict, and what risks remain during postconflict transition. These findings will provide a better understanding of the types of challenges likely to confront peacekeeping and statebuilding endeavors in other parts of the world.
Contributors: Jana Arsovska, Svante Cornell, Johan Engvall, Michael Jonsson, Alexandru Molcean, Niklas Nilsson, Murad Batal al-Shishani, Natalie Verständig.
"An ambitious and insightful comparative examination of the illicit political economy and criminal activities in Eurasia's conflict zones."—Alexander Cooley, Barnard College
"A timely and important collection that includes useful primers on the crime-conflict nexus in particular countries, many of which Western audiences know too little about."—Peter Andreas, Brown University