Costs and Benefits of Informal Economy: Shuttle Trade and Crime at Cherkizovsky Market

Yuliya Zabyelina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


According to IMF and OSCE reports, informal economic transactions in Russia and other states of the former Communist Bloc have cushioned the shocks of economic and political transition of the 1990s by quickly satisfying the consumer demand and providing unofficial jobs to the population faced with transition recession. As these analyses extensively emphasise the advantages of informal entrepreneurship and its positive contribution to stimulating economic growth, this article explores the phenomenon of shuttle trade - a system/form of informal trade outside state control that does not comply with state regulations - as an issue of concern for criminologists. This article investigates the convergence of shuttle trade and criminal activities and the relationship of shuttle trade to the formal regulatory environment. It offers insights into selected criminal activities at Cherkizovsky market in Moscow before its shutdown in 2009 and an evaluation of the policymaking decisions the shutdown triggered.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-108
JournalGlobal Crime
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • informal economy
  • shuttle trade
  • contraband
  • customs fraud
  • money laundering
  • decriminalisation


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