Russian History


Crime Statistics

Moscow's 1995 statistics included 93,560 crimes, of which 18,500 were white-collar crimes--an increase of 8.3 percent over 1994. Among white-collar crimes, swindling increased 67.2 percent, and extortion 37.5 percent, in 1995. Among the conventional crimes reported, murder and attempted murder increased 1.5 percent, rape 6.5 percent, burglaries 6.6 percent, burglaries accompanied by violence 20.8 percent, and serious crimes by teenagers 2.2 percent. The rate of crime-solving by the Moscow militia (police) rose in 1995 from 57.7 percent to 64.9 percent, but that statistic was bolstered substantially by success in solving minor crimes; the projected rate of solving burglaries was 18.8 percent, of murders 42.2 percent, and of crimes involving use of a firearm, 31.4 percent. Moscow and St. Petersburg were the centers of automobile theft, which increased dramatically through the first half of the 1990s. In Moscow an estimated fifty cars were stolen per day, with the estimated yearly total for Russia between 100,000 and 150,000. In the first quarter of 1994, Russia averaged eighty-four murders a day. Many of those crimes were contract killings attributed to criminal organizations. In 1994 murder victims included three deputies of the State Duma, one journalist, a priest, the head of a union, several local officials, and more than thirty businesspeople and bankers. Most of those crimes went unsolved.

The 1995 national crime total exceeded 1.3 million, including 30,600 murders. Crime experts predicted that the murder total would reach 50,000 in 1996. In 1995 some 248 regular militia officers were killed in the line of duty.

Confiscation of firearms, possession of which has been identified as another grave social problem, increased substantially in 1995, according to the Moscow militia's Regional Organized Crime Directorate. About 3 million firearms were registered in 1995, but the number of unregistered guns was assumed to far exceed that figure. Military weapons are stolen frequently and sold to gangsters; in 1993 nearly 60,000 cases of such theft were reported, involving machine guns, hand grenades, and explosives, among other weapons (see Crime in the Military, ch. 9). The ready availability of firearms has made the work of the poorly armed militia more dangerous.