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The Russian Far East’s illegal timber trade: an organized crime?

Crime, Law and Social Change

Published online on


Transnational environmental crime is a global problem encompassing not only criminal violations of the law, but harms against the environment and the people reliant upon it as a natural resource. Grounded in the green criminological theory of eco-global criminology, this paper explores the transnational environmental crime of the illegal timber trade in the Russian Far East unpicking the threats to ecological well-being and the global nature and impacts of this crime. In researching transnational environmental crime, it is crucial to uncover the distinct local and regional variations of the forces at play; for this paper that means analyzing the role of organized crime and corruption in Russia’s timber black market. This information was obtained by using the current literature and interviews with Russian and international experts in order to uncover the role of these actors in the harvesting, smuggling and selling of timber. From this exploration, a structure of the illegal timber trade in this region is proposed including at which points along the black market chain organized crime and/or corruption are involved. Additionally, from an eco-global criminological foundation this paper analyzes the consequences to Russia’s people, its environment and the global community if the illegal timber trade is to continue in its current state.