Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Growth of Criminal Subculture Among Youth Now ‘Problem of National Security’ in Russia

Paul Goble

            Staunton, September 11 – Thousands of murders and other crimes in Russia, many of them committed by the more than 800,000 followers of websites promoting criminal values among the young and directed at ethnic and other minority groups and the overwhelming majority of them unsolved or at least unpunished, have become “a problem of national security.”

            That message was delivered to Vladimir Putin by Yana Lantrantova at a recent meeting of the Presidential Human Rights Council who says that the cult of crime among young people has become widespread not only because an increasing number of Russian youths are unemployed, not in school and unsupervised but for other reasons as well.

            Specifically, she says, society has left a growing number of young people without any hope for the future and that criminal groups make use of young people to expand their own ranks and because they know the authorities won’t punish the young if they are caught (

            These groups are often referred to as sharing an ideology of the AUE, an acronym expanded in various way but referring to a belief in crime as the basis of unity of these young people against the rest of the world. “At present, Irina Mishina of Novyye izvestiya says, “law enforcement cannot do anything with them.”

            What is most frightening about this situation, the journalist continues, is that “the law enforcement organs still haven’t solved a single criminal act committed by those who identify with the AUE. One is thus compelled to ask: perhaps our protectors also have been frightened by
AUE bands?”

            Sending these people to special schools rather than to prisons, those who follow these trends say, doesn’t work: it only means that when the youngsters come out of such places they are even more united and even more violent, “a whole army” of criminals, in the words of Lantrantova. 

            Viktor Guldan, a psychologist at the Moscow Oblast Center for Social and Judicial Psychiatry, says that “young people today unite in groups on various principles: some declare themselves football fans, others, fighters against pedophilia and homosexuality, and still others ‘for purity of the race.’” But “the root problem” is that they aren’t involved in work or school.

            Moreover, in society as a whole, tensions are growing; and because these young people are not connected with parents or other authority figures, they don’t have an constraints and are becoming increasingly “asocial.” They become murderers “because of social causes,” and this process may prove “irreversible,” he adds.

            At the end of last year, the Duma took up a measure to deal with youth crime; but it went nowhere, Mishina reports. Deputies talked about how serious the problem has become but ultimately did nothing.  Many felt that trying to deal with this subculture via law won’t work but only lead to long, drawn-out and expensive investigations and trials.


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