Weapons Proliferation and Organized Crime: The Russian Military and Security Force   [open html - 347KB]

The proliferation of weapons of all types, especially weapons of mass destruction (WMD), has emerged as a primary international security challenge in the post-Cold War era. This paper examines the critical issue of weapons proliferation in a unique way by focusing on how criminality in the former Soviet Union (FSU) exacerbates this problem. Undoubtedly, this dimension of the weapons proliferation problem does not receive enough attention, is not well understood, and presents extremely difficult policy-making challenges. As the author points out, many very worrisome proliferation ingredients are already present in the FSU, including huge stockpiles of conventional arms and WMD; widespread corruption, turmoil, and uncertainty in military and security establishments; and the potential for huge profits from state and nonstate markets. Adding organized crime to this volatile mix creates an explosive recipe and marks the FSU as the primary source of weapons proliferation for years to come. Overall, this study reaches four main conclusions. First, Russian military and security organizations are the primary sources for the flourishing illegal weapons trade within and outside of the FSU. Second, military criminality is playing an integral role in facilitating the illegal weapons trade. Third, weapons proliferation is fostered by extensive ties between criminal Russian military organizations and criminal elements within the Russian civil sector. Finally, the aforementioned factors raise substantial doubts about the avowed security of the Russian nuclear and CW stockpiles. These conclusions have enormous implications for American and Western policy makers as they attempt to craft mechanisms like the CTR to deal effectively with the threat of weapons proliferation from the FSU.

Report Number:
INSS Occasional Paper 10, Proliferation Series
Public Domain
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