In contrast to Russian studies, the study of crime and corruption in Ukraine is limited to a small number of scholarly studies while there is no analysis of the nexus between crime and new business and political elites with law enforcement (Kuzio, 2003a,b). This is the first analysis of how these links emerged in the 1990s with a focus on the Donbas (Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts) and the Crimea, two regions that experienced the greatest degree of violence during Ukraine’s transition to a market economy. Donetsk gave birth to the Party of Regions in 2001 which has become Ukraine’s only political machine winning first place plurality in three elections since 2006 and former Donetsk Governor and party leader Viktor Yanukovych was elected president in 2010 (Zimmer, 2005; Kudelia and Kuzio, 2014). Therefore, an analysis of the nexus that emerged in the 1990s in Donetsk provides the background to the political culture of the country’s political machine that, as events have shown since 2010 and during the Euro-Maydan, is also the party most willing in Ukraine to use violence to achieve its objectives.

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