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June 3, 2004


    OSWEGO -- Co-editing a publication about crime in Russia presented an opportunity to tackle an interesting subject and engage in a compelling international project, said Dr. Tim Delaney, assistant professor of sociology at SUNY Oswego.

    "Social Diseases: Mafia, Terrorism and Totalitarianism," a collaboration with Valerii Kuvakin of Moscow State University and Timothy Madigan of the University of Rochester, was published this spring by the Russian Humanist Society in Moscow. A number of Russian and American scholars contributed writings to the book.

    "We did this book as a form of cooperation between American and Russian scholars," Delaney said. "It developed because of friendships I have with a number of Russian scholars."

    Delaney has previously presented papers at the Russian Academy of Sciences, the oldest academic society in existence, he said, where he will also teach summer classes this year.

    He contributed a pair of articles to the anthology. "The Russian Mafia in the United States" presents a topic not often covered in either country, he noted. "The Russians have found it interesting because they know about the mafia in Russia, but they don't know much about the Russian Mafia's activities in the U.S."

    Delaney also wrote a chapter called "Street Gangs: A Growing Social Problem" because his Russian colleagues asked him to write something on the subject.
   "Ever since the collapse of the USSR, there has been a dramatic increase in street crimes, including street gangs," he explained. The escalation of criminal activity represented an unexpected consequence of the new freedoms that came from the collapse of Soviet totalitarianism, he added.

    He differentiates between the Russian mafia -- a collective term for organizations who provided black-market goods during the Communist regime -- and the rising street criminals. "The Russian mafia provided goods and services the Russian government couldn't, simple things like bread, vodka, caviar and Western clothing like blue jeans," Delaney said. "Street criminals do not provide any service."

    The work also ties in with work Delaney is doing on street gangs in the United States. He hopes to have a book on that subject out some time next year.

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Tim Delaney of Oswego's sociology department

INTERNATIONAL EFFORT -- Dr. Tim Delaney, assistant professor of sociology at SUNY Oswego, co-edited "Social Diseases: Mafia, Terrorism and Totalitarianism," a new book that collects the work of American and Russian scholars. He also wrote a two chapters, "The Russian Mafia in the United States" and "Street Gangs: A Growing Social Problem."

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