LLCU 214 Lecture 9: Week 9 (got A+ in course)

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Queen's University
Languages, Literatures and Cultures
LLCU 214
Donato Santeramo

Week 9 Lecture Notes: Thieves with the Code = Vory v Zakone Analogy with mafia and other Italian base organizations Occupied a place of great respect and authority in former Soviet Union underworld More new and aggressive organization The Vor This is the code He was the keeper of the Code which guided his behaviour and that of his followers The vor is ultimate arbiter of thieves justice, settling disputes and sanctioned any violations of the code o The vor provides alternative justice History of how Vory v Zakone came to be: Country was swarming with thieves during time of Peter the Great, but there was no cooperation among them (so this is normal since no organization) In 18th century: o Increased levels of organization o Indoctrination into criminal groups o Membership fee o Use of nicknames o Use of argot (Fenia) (slang to communicate) In 19th century: o Creation of structured organization o Division of tasks o First signs of criminal boss Russian Revolution o Political enemies of the new state recruited members from traditional and professional criminals o Political vs Traditional criminals (conflict among thieves) o Political criminals became heads of juvenile criminal groups called Zhigani Zhigani o As the ideological opposition to the new Communist State, they created new laws: Forbidden to work or take part in society Forbidden to have a family Forbidden to take up arms on behalf of the state (dont serve in army) Forbidden to cooperate with authorities as a witness of victim Obliged to contribute money for the common good (zero contribution) o Conflict Lower ranks of heirarchy disobeyed laws of Zhigani Conflict created need to perfect the code Based on prerevolution criminal traditions and customs, the most authoritave criminals became known as vory v zakone Correctional Labor Camps Acted as a medium for further development and swift dissemination of thieves traditions and customs throughout prison
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