Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 194

As previously noted, there is reason for skepticism when it comes to the ability or willingness of top Russian officials to combat crime and corruption (see the Monitor, October 19). One need only look back to October 1994, when then Interior Minister Viktor Yerin appealed to the international community for help in the fight against organized crime. Simultaneously, Kroll and Associates, the international detective agency, announced that it was ending an investigation commissioned by the Russian government in 1992 to track down money allegedly laundered westward by the Soviet Communist Party. Kroll said that top Russian officials had hindered its investigation.

It is worth noting that President Boris Yeltsin–who, in a message to the conference yesterday, called for joint international efforts to fight international organized crime–has announced at least seven antimafia campaigns during the last seven years. At the same time, a host of high-level criminal cases remain unsolved: Neither those who ordered the 1994 murder of journalist Dmitri Kholodov, for example, nor those behind the 1995 killing of television personality Vladislav Listiev have been brought to justice.

Meanwhile, Viktor Novosyolov, a deputy in the St. Petersburg city council, was killed today by a car bomb (Russian agencies, October 20).