Investigate the Russian 'mafiya' and visit the places that have made Brighton Beach one of the world’s crime capitals.
Look past the summering beachgoers and into the back rooms of Little Odessa’s buildings and you’ll uncover a realm of prostitution, trafficking, and fraud. As a hotbed for illegal activity, the Brighton Beach area of New York now ranks with Moscow, China, and London at the top of the crime capitals. But how did this happen? Where between the neighborhood stores and the beautiful boardwalk did so many residents fall through the cracks and into a life of criminality?
Professor Mark Galeotti has been studying Russian crime for over three decades and has published a number of works that deal with global and organized crime around the world. A consultant for the FBI and several police forces, he was also a special adviser to the British Foreign Office before coming to New York.
Meet at Tatiana Restaurant on the boardwalk where, over a drink, Mark will tell you about the roots and rise of Russian organized crime in Little Odessa, from the 'Potato Bag Gang' of the 1970s through to the entry of tattooed veterans of the Soviet labor camps. You'll hear about the characters and the scams, the deals struck and the blood on the streets.
Then Mark will take you down the boardwalk and into Little Odessa. As you walk, he’ll point out some of the little-known landmarks of this criminal history, from cafes where murders were planned to the place where Russian and Italian gangsters first began to work together. Along the way, you'll find out why the criminal landscape of today focuses heavily on white-collar crime, Medicare fraud, and massive multi-million dollar rackets, and learn quite a bit about this fascinating corner of New York.