Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 138

British and Russian police are to share information and expertise to combat the growing number of Russian criminal groups operating across international borders. "Our criminals are learning to work together, that’s why it’s important for our governments to work together to beat them," Foreign Secretary Robin Cook said after meeting in Moscow yesterday with First Deputy Interior Minister Vladimir Kolesnikov. An estimated 275 Russian gangs are now operating across international frontiers. Growing quantities of illegal drugs are being transported through Russia and there is especial concern in London financial circles about the laundering of drug money. (BBC, July 15)

Earlier this year, Britain’s MI6 counter-intelligence agency was said to be concerned that drug-smuggling gangs had diversified into people-smuggling. Moscow was said to have become the main transit point for illegal immigrants from mainland China and the Indian sub-continent being ferried along established drug-smuggling routes through eastern Europe in order to claim asylum in western Europe. (Evening Standard [London], May 16)

Aushev Calls on Kremlin to Declare Presidential Rule in Conflict Area.