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The commonly held theses which see the post-Soviet mafia as a product of the market economy and the "absence of state" are false. The root causes of the phenomenon originate with the planned economy, the nomenclature system, the state centralisation and systematic organisation of political parasitism which were so rife in the Soviet period. Using the analytical tool of the logical contraposition of "economic means" and "political means" of acquiring wealth, it is possible to grasp the origins of the phenomenon, which is bound up in the recent processes of "nomenclature privatisation" and the emergence of organic links between the political sphere and criminal interest. The hypertrophy of the state has been the real source of mafia-type structures, as is demonstrated by the regularity with which they form and are consolidated wherever the market economy is paralysed and political relations prevail.