"In recent years, a new threat has emerged: the mafia state. Across the globe, criminals have penetrated governments to an unprecedented degree. The reverse has also happened: rather than stamping out powerful gangs, some governments have instead taken over their illegal operations. In mafia states, government officials enrich themselves and their families and friends while exploiting the money, muscle, political influence, and global connections of criminal syndicates to cement and expand their own power. Indeed, top positions in some of the world's most profitable illicit enterprises are no longer filled only by professional criminals; they now include senior government officials, legislators, spy chiefs, heads of police departments, military officers, and, in some extreme cases, even heads of state or their family members.
This fusing of governments and criminal groups is distinct from the more limited ways in which the two have collaborated in the past. Governments and spy agencies, including those of democratic countries, have often enlisted criminals to smuggle weapons to allied insurgents in other countries or even to assassinate enemies abroad. (The CIA's harebrained attempt to enlist American mafia figures to assassinate Fidel Castro in 1960 is perhaps the best-known example.) But unlike normal states, mafia states do not just occasionally rely on criminal groups to advance particular foreign policy goals. In a mafia state, high government officials actually become integral players in, if not the leaders of, criminal enterprises, and the defense and promotion of those enterprises' businesses become official priorities.
In mafia states such as Bulgaria, Guinea-Bissau, Montenegro, Myanmar (also called Burma), Ukraine, and Venezuela, the national interest and the interests of organized crime are now inextricably intertwined.
Because the policies and resource allocations of mafia states are determined as much by the influence of criminals as by the forces that typically shape state behavior, these states pose a serious challenge to policymakers and analysts of international politics. Mafia states defy easy categorization, blurring the conceptual line between states and nonstate actors. As a result, their behavior is difficult to predict, making them particularly dangerous actors in the international environment."
From "Mafia States" by Moisés Naim, 'Foreign Affairs', April 25 2012
p.s. Alexander Rahr seems to be sure Tymoshenko will be released before the Euro 2012 starts...he claims Germany's leading politicians think so too...
EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton says she hopes to have good news after her meeting with Ukrainian Premier Mykola Azarov on May 15...
And apparently, the word 'boycott' was not heard at Monday's meeting of EU Foreign Ministers...
Are the EU and Ukraine nearing a deal on 'Tymokha'? But ever since her arrest she has dictated events...and will continue to do so, whatever happens...The press love poking sticks at ugly, greedy bears like Yanuk..