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CRIME AND BLACK MARKETS         These subjects require separate treatment because they are not,  like in western economies, merely a footnote.  They must be considered  with impartiality and fairness, and not criticized as being different to  western models.  They have evolved out of the crisis period of 1929-  1940 and constantly adapted under the unique evolved Russian hunter-  gatherer mindset.  They pervade every aspect of Russia society, every  facet of its economy, and are involved in all domestic and international  affairs.  These are represented in the highest art form in Russia.  They  are the most advanced, the most sophisticated,  the most creative and  the most adaptive because of their all-pervasiveness and total lack of  accountability.  It is an incredible feat to have these systems represent  80% of all economic activity.            Regular crimes of the masses (murder, etc.) are of little financial  significance inside of Russia, since poor people can’t do much to other  poor people, and the few middle class (mostly bureaucrats) and  rich are  protected by the uniformed types.  So, it is usually alcohol or drug-  related.  It’s main negative is on population growth, as it affects a  disproportionately large number of young men in negative ways that  remove many from most  ladies’ desirable gene pool.  Internationally,  however, this is big business; it will be treated in the Mafia section.  Even  though prostitution domestically is illegal, its practice is open and  widespread.  Gambling has had a very negative influence on the poor  and thus their families, so a decision has been made to consolidate  activity at 4-5 main centers, spread many kilometers apart, sanctioned  and closely monitored by the government for the use of the middle and  upper classes.  Regular crime and enforcement represents less than 1% of the economy.          In the most important white-collar non-physical category, blackmail,  extortion (EXCEPT for the form of property insurance in which if a fee  isn’t paid to “protect” it, it will be destroyed: Russians call this KRIHSHA,  or roof), racketeering and such aren’t  a big deal, since crime is the norm  and not the exception---these aren’t needed.  The main action is  bribery,  which constitutes roughly 80% of the economy, and with said activity  being conducted by a mere 7% of the population.  So, if Russia’s overall  activity yearly were 1.3 trillion, about almost a trillion of that would be  bribery…big numbers.  To do this well and survive takes great skill.  The  few practitioners are the approximately (numbers based on U.S. Dollars)  60 billionaires, 200,000 millionaires, and most of the roughly 9 million  
others whose monetary worth is somewhere between 80,000-  1,000,000 (mostly bureaucrats) in a country of 130,000,000.  The  greater the wealth means the higher the amount of bribing. The great  proportion of their success has depended on their ability to bribe well.   Those who don’t suffer consequences like being forced to immigrate  (symbolized by Boris Berizovsky) or by being jailed (symbolized by  Michael Khodorkovsky).  These folks just didn’t give Mr. Putin what he  felt was his fair share.  That doesn’t mean just Mr. Putin---it means his  entire distribution network from the highest federal level down to the  lowest civil level, aptly created over the last 10 years and called the  One Russia Party.  This name One Russia Party is often joked about  in  Russia as being called The “We are eating Russia Party” because in  Russia, the two phrases sound almost the same.  Of course, Mr. Putin  and his team aren’t the only ones receiving bribes, but they get the  lion’s share, about 70%, or 700 billion annually based on the above  budget.  This activity, in Russian, is called black market activity not  because there is any market, per se, but because the activity is  unaccounted for, non-recorded, and is done by compunction.  As  mentioned in another section, about 30% of the bribery total, or 300  billion, comes from international firms doing business in Russia.  The  other 700 billion comes from Russians bribing Russians.  In the west,  taxes are paid to governments.  In Russia, bribes are paid to people  down a long distribution chain.  Even then, there aren’t nearly as many  exchanges of capital/turns  as in western countries, with so few  spending so much and the masses spending so little, but still it’s pretty  impressive.  There is a real black market (imported manufactured  goods, etc.: relatively trivial money-wise) which melds with the white-  collar one.  Almost all imported goods are under strict control of One  Russia.  First comes customs payment (bribe) and then a Russian   equivalent of a 3-4 stage wholesale-retail distribution in which bribes  are paid each time instead of taxes.  The case against Khodorkovsky  outlined the system very clearly:  not to pay taxes is criminal, and of  course, it’s easy to verify that the government receives very little in tax  revenue---so EVERYONE and EVERY ENTITY is criminal.   Russians  learned during the Soviet Union never to trust the government, and that  nothing should ever be given to it.  So by definition, criminality is legal.    It’s engrained to dislike government, something that began with the  negative perceptions of the Tsar in the 1870’s.  This is why the masses  laugh at Putin for claiming that Khodorkovsky didn’t pay enough taxes.   Even Putin himself hasn’t been able to keep a straight face when  discussing it at times.