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    This might sound simplistic but “be Latvian” would be first on the list.

    The USSR created an education system that produced more skilled and educated people than the country could use and situation seems to have continued post-Soviet. So local people have skills, don’t have opportunities in the West where programming is well paid and are more trustworthy or at least easier to understand to serious cyber criminals who recruit them (who are from the ex-Eastern Bloc for the same reasons).

    It also seems plausible that those recruited to the gang aren’t actually taught anything about security. The simplest way to run a gang would be a multitier system where inner tiers just have to recruit the outer tiers and so just have to protect themselves from the outer tiers. That an outer tiers get caught regularly could be an advantage - it prevents them from threatening the inner tiers. This sort of thing could also be going with the recent FBI/AFP take-downs. The individuals arrest there would logically be “mid-tier thugs”, have no coherent understanding of security and can never learn it ‘cause by the time they understand, they’re in prison for a long time.

    And sadly this also shows how the variety of enforcement actions one sees are unlikely to change basic organized crime phenomena.

    Longer considerations of mafias and the modern world here:

    http://www.notbored.org/commentaires.html

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      Are they ethnic Latvians or Russian colonists from the Soviet era that stayed in Latvia after the collapse? Mix of both?

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        I know nothing of the details involved, just the overall history that lead up to this situation.

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          Ah ok. You just made a very strong statement about Latvia. I guess you were just talking about Soviet bloc in general.

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            I said Latvia just because I assumed that any gangsterism is very local. The Latvians would trust other Latvians, the Russians would trust other Russians and so-forth. Organized crime the world over tends to involve common ethnicities because that allows trust and communications, not because any given ethnic group has a tendency towards crime.

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              According to the documents she’s a Russian national, and another site mentioned she studied in Latvia. Don’t know which one is correct, and things like “are you Russian or Latvian?” were murky anyway in the aftermath of the collapse of the USSR (actually, still are today; see: Ukraine). Most others involved were Russians though (and one Ukrainian).