CSIS-EKEM Policy Report Number Two
April 30, 2010
The fall of communism and the ensuing Yugoslav wars of the 1990s rendered the region especially vulnerable to organized crime, human trafficking, smuggling, and corruption. Officially tolerated or politically sponsored criminality was commonplace due to the enduring legacy of communism and international sanctions during the wars of Yugoslav succession. In many cases, the smuggling of goods was necessary for survival, and corruption was rampant to keep the grey economy afloat. The pervasiveness of politically connected criminality obstructed the reform process, consolidated the control of special interest groups, diminished public confidence in the transition process, generated fear among the public about reporting on criminal activities and official corruption, and jeopardized economic stability and development. These conditions compromised the region’s transition to democracy and market-driven economies and rendered state weakness pervasive in most cases.