Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Ukraine Crisis: How Russia Used Crime Gangs to Seize Crimea, Destabilize Ukraine

Russia's Vladimir Putin used organized crime groups to help him take control in Ukraine's Crimea peninsula, says this report in the Daily Beast.

And he's been doing the same thing in Ukraine's eastern regions.

The story is reminiscent of reports about the thousands of government-backed thugs called titushki who helped Ukraine's deposed pro-Moscow president Viktor Yanukovych keep his grip on power by attacking demonstrators and journalists.

Earlier reports have detailed the alleged organized crime links of Sergei Aksyonov, Crimea's Russian-backed prime minister, and the astonishing corruption that prevailed under Yanukovych.

Yanukovych's ousting by mass protests in February prompted Russia to send thousands of soldiers without insignia into Crimea, where they oversaw Aksyonov's instalment as prime minister and the holding of a fraud-riddled referendum in March on the region's accession to Russia.

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