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Is there a link between organised crime and terrorism in the context of shifting power structures in Eurasia? The Russian Case

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posted on 2022-08-25, 01:57 authored by Jaclyn SpicerJaclyn Spicer

This study sets out to explore if the nexus between organised crime and terrorism is facilitated by the modern state of Russia. There are four fundamental questions to be considered: What role does the state of Russia play in supporting and enabling organised crime? Is the relationship between state and organised crime purely for financial gain or does it achieve political aims of the state? Finally, is it impossible to separate terrorist organisations (TO) and organised crime groups (OCG)? If this is so, is it also impossible to separate these groups from the state that hosts them? The methodology of this study utilises a text analysis to establish the veracity of the link between the Russian state and the use of organised crime as a cheap, deniable tool for state hegemony and hybrid warfare (Marsh 2019, p. 26). The aim of this study is to introduce a conceptual-analytical framework for the study of the nexus between crime, terrorism and state. There is only one case study to be evaluated here, with the view that further empirical studies in the form of social network analysis be undertaken. Caiani (2014), Diviak (2018), and Masys (2014) have raised the need to undertake further research, but their suggested methodologies are vastly different and not as suggested here. Social network analysis should be used in conjunction with geo-mapping of organised crime and terrorism trade/logistics routes in Donbass and Crimea at a later date, possibly on an open source intelligence gathering platform similar to Bellingcat1. The use of this methodology has its limitations. Open source intelligence may or may not create overt tension regarding state complicity in the crime/terror nexus. Such complicity for non allies of Australia and the US (such as Russia) may be described by different methodologies. OCG and TO show clear convergence and now pose a significant security threat to states, including Ukraine (Shaw 2019, pp. 582-584). There is evidence to link OCG with the inner workings of the Kremlin, yet the link between the state of Russia and OCG are often dismissed as being profit motivated and somehow less heinous than state sponsored terrorism, or only described in broad, not individual terms (El Siwi 2018, p. 951; Horgan et al. 2016, pp. 1228-1237). In a rapidly changing global landscape, the new Cold War battlefronts are no longer determined by military prowess, but instead by asymmetrical and  non-traditional warfare (Black and Johns 2016, p. 42). Excluding the role of the state and continuing to define and research OCG and TO based on motivations, definitions and continuums of activity is limiting (Bobic 2014, p. 242).


Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Literature Review -- Chapter 2. Russia and Organised Crime -- Chapter 3. Russia and Terrorism -- Chapter 4. Case Study – Yanukovych -- Chapter 5. Analysis, Problems of Definition and Limitations of Study – Conclusion -- References

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


Thesis (MRes), Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Criminology, 2020

Department, Centre or School

Department of Criminology

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Rolando Ochoa Hernandez


Copyright: The Author Copyright disclaimer:




Russia (Federation)


91 pages

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