Informal economic activities have long been embedded within the Kyrgyz police, as they have throughout police organizations in the former Soviet Union (FSU), but the nature and extent of these have expanded since the collapse of the USSR. After gaining independence, officers’ involvement in informal economic activity has continued and increased because of their own precarious economic positions, the lack of state capacity to control and incentivize them, and the long history of economic informal activity within the police and society more generally. The provision of police services in Kyrgyzstan has increasingly become marketized as state control over the economy and political arena has weakened, and actors with money, most notably organized crime groups and elements from within the police, control large aspects of informal activity. For example, junior officers provide their superiors with a proportion of the money they acquire via bribery in a systematized pyramid of informal exchange. However, police and less powerful social actors also use informal economic means to provide police services. Where the state is unable and/or unwilling to do so, and at the same time retains an excessively regimented legal framework, lower-status social actors use informal economic activity to provide basic services and to circumvent excessive legal requirements and punishments.
- Police Service
- Former Soviet Union
- Organize Crime Group
- Informal Activity
- Soviet Time
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© 2015 Liam O’Shea
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O’Shea, L. (2015). Informal Economic Practices within the Kyrgyz Police (militsiia). In: Morris, J., Polese, A. (eds) Informal Economies in Post-Socialist Spaces. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137483072_13
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