Trends in Organized Crime

, 11:326

First online:

Aspects of the evolution of extra-legal protection in Bulgaria (1989–1999)

  • Marina TzvetkovaAffiliated withNuffield College, University of Oxford Email author 

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In this paper I look at the interplay between organised crime, law, and the state and argue that the evolution of organised crime organisations in Bulgaria was shaped by the dynamic transformation of the legal and economic environment during the 90s, by policies of the state, such as, for example, the regulation of the private security and insurance industries (in 1994 and 1998 respectively), which mafia-like organisations used as fronts for their activities during the 90s and by the ability of organised crime organisations to adapt to the constantly changing conditions. In the first section of the paper I look at the emergence of the private security and private protection industries in Bulgaria with an emphasis on the development of organisations using the threat of violence to settle disputes, discourage competition, retrieve stolen property and collect debts. In the second section of the paper, I follow the transformation of certain type of private security companies into insurance companies, which directed their activities at properties liable to risk, for instance cars and small shops. They enjoyed an advantage over ordinary insurance companies because they possessed greater information about the risks, which could affect the property of their clients, for example theft (car theft in particular). The concluding section discusses the development of silovi grupirovki (the Bulgarian name for organised crime organisations) after 1998 when a very strict licensing regime for insurance companies was introduced and alleged to be mafia-like organisations were removed from the insurance market.


Organised crime Mafia-like organizations Private security