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Russia to back soft power approach to dealing with organized crime

MOSCOW, February 22 - RAPSI. Russia will back the use of "soft power" in the fight against organized crime at a UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs meeting in Vienna in March, an official told RIA Novosti on Friday.

A development conference in Peru in November focused on addressing socio-economic issues as an alternative way to combat crime, Alexander Zmeyevsky, the special presidential representative for international cooperation in combating terrorism and trans-national organized crime, added.

"In March, the issue will be raised at the UN commission in Vienna, upon the initiative of Peru and Thailand," he said. "We will actively support any decisions involving the use of soft power to address new criminal challenges and threats."

The Russian Foreign Policy Concept published on the Foreign Ministry's website on February 18 defines "soft power" as "a comprehensive tool for reaching foreign political goals based on civil society potential, information and communication, and cultural and other alternatives to conventional diplomacy."

Worldwide Membership of Russian Gangs

The total membership of organized crime members in Russian gangs is estimated to be over 300,000 people worldwide.

In 2010, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimated there were 450 gangs within Russia with 12,000 members.