The collapse of the paternalistic Soviet state gave rise to a Hobbesian free market. Memories of the so-called wild 1990s are seared into the Russian collective memory. Everything was for sale. Desperate pensioners pawned the few possessions they had in crude roadside markets while
hulking state enterprises were sold off through a disastrous scheme of voucher privatization, which saw whole swaths of industry, and much of the country’s wealth, brought under the control of just a handful of individuals.
As the state’s monopoly on the use of force began to crumble, criminal gangs were on the ascent as guarantors of safety and providers of a kind of justice. With private industry on the rise,
krysha provided a steady stream of income for criminal gangs—a more reliable one than risky criminal activities like robbery. Racketeers became more invested in the success of the businesses they protected. Described as “violent entrepreneurs” by the Russian sociologist Vadim Volkov