11 July 2022
However, given the potential scale of the criminal economies in question, and the expe- rience of the period since 2014, one should never underestimate gangs’ willingness to take risks and ignore the political context in the pursuit of profit. [...] Corruption and economic crime are long-standing problems for Ukraine and remain a serious ongoing challenge today and in any post-war reconstruction.135 The flow of criminal goods from Donbas, and the complicity of individuals and organizations on the government side contributed to the challenge, especially that of corruption within the security and law enforce- ment apparatus. [...] For the LDNR While attempts were made to redevelop the economies of the LDNR, these could not do more than make up for a small part of the damage caused by war and blockade.138 The interpenetration of underworld and upperworld, especially in the institutional- ized smuggling of coal and other products, was a way of generating funds to maintain the status quo. [...] The number of violent crimes rose in that year alone by 7.8% in Kalmykia and the volgograd region; by 10.4% in Krasnodar; by 19.2% in Adygea; and by 23.4% in the Rostov region, which is where most of the fighters recruited in Russia were mustered, armed and then sent into the LDNR.146 However, the flow of weapons – and men willing to use them – was also linked to a more general upsurge in gang-rel. [...] For the wider world As discussed above, the lack of control, transparency and cooperation created by the war and the lack of legitimacy of the DNR and LNR facilitated a wide range of cross-border crimes, from gun-running to money laundering.