Crimintern: How the Kremlin uses Russia’s criminal networks in Europe

New report by Mark Galeotti published by the European Council on Foreign Relations focuses on the Russia’s criminal networks in Europe.


  • Over the past 20 years, the role of Russian organised crime in Europe has shifted considerably. Today, Russian criminals operate less on the street and more in the shadows: as allies, facilitators and suppliers for local European gangs and continent-wide criminal networks.
  • The Russian state is highly criminalised, and the interpenetration of the criminal ‘underworld’ and the political ‘upperworld’ has led the regime to use criminals from time to time as instruments of its rule.
  • Russian-based organised crime groups in Europe have been used for a variety of purposes, including as sources of ‘black cash’, to launch cyber attacks, to wield political influence, to traffic people and goods, and even to carry out targeted assassinations on behalf of the Kremlin.
  • European states and institutions need to consider RBOC a security as much as a criminal problem, and adopt measures to combat it, including concentrating on targeting their assets, sharing information between security and law-enforcement agencies, and accepting the need to devote political and economic capital to the challenge.


  • Create a common European approach to combat money-laundering.
  • Build cooperative relationships between intelligence agencies and vulnerable local communities.
  • Foster increased exchange between national intelligence agencies and police forces.
  • Provide for better inclusion of the European Union Intelligence and Situation Centre in all activities.
  • Leverage diplomatic ties where possible.
  • Increase budgetary support.

You can read the full report here.