This title was first published in 2003. The "Red Mafia" in Russia have become the subject of increasing international interest and considerable misinterpretation. After well-received editions in Russian, French and Italian, Anton Oleinik's study of Russian prisons, in which he explores the social roots of organized crime in post-Soviet societies, is now published in English. This English edition includes a postscript on the Moscow terrorist crisis of 2002. Oleinik's analysis reveals prison society as a mirror of broader Russian society - characterized by the absence of the state as an organizer of social practices. He builds on this to make a central distinction between two types of societies - the modern "large" society and the "small" society, like Russia, that has only been partially modernized, and in which the world of everyday life, experiences and relationships remains entirely separated from the official aims of modernization and efficiency. Oleinik is interested in the void between these two separate worlds, a void he sees being filled in Russia by the Mafia.

chapter |5 pages


chapter 1|38 pages

Understanding the ‘Small’ Society

chapter 2|106 pages

Penal Society in Russia

chapter 3|46 pages

Generalization Test: A Torn Society

chapter 4|60 pages

Institutional Change: Two Cases Compared

chapter |10 pages


About the Concept of the Mafia in the Post-Soviet Context

chapter |3 pages


Hostages of Authority