"A richly documented, complex book. . . . Volkov establishes a critical distance from the state and its agencies, important in principle and particularly so in a period of rapid social change, with new legal codes shifting the boundaries of crime and the enforcement of public order moving, in practice, into private hands."—International Affairs 79:3, May 2003
"If I could go back in time and visit the Moscow of 1995, one of the books I would want to take with me would be Vadim Volkov's 'Violent Entrepreneurs: The Use of Force in the Making of Russian Capitalism.' I see in it a hundred things I wish I had known in the mid-1990s as I tried to understand how business could survive at all in so lawless and corrupt an environment. Volkov supplies the missing link between almost everything else you may read about business in post-Communist Russia and almost everything else you can read about organized crime there. He treats the two activities, business and crime, with equal respect as fields of sociological inquiry, and so arrives at the first satisfying account of how they affect each other."—New York Review of Books, December 4, 2003
"This impressive study by Russian sociologist Vadim Volkov investigates the economic and social evolution of the nascent entrepreneurial class in Russia and accounts for its disturbingly intimate liaison with violence and crime. . . . Volkov considers the implications of the weakened and discredited state against the background of new economic agents who, desperate to secure their property and monopoly rights in various markets, have become accustomed to the use of force."—Marina Rosser, James Madison University. The Russian Review, July '03, 62:3
"This is a splendid book, a well-written and well-researched contribution to the field that deserves a wide and appreciative readership. . . . Volkov has not only worked through the Russian and foreign literature, he has also enriched his researched through interviews with criminals, officials, businesspeople, and private security providers, something that is clearly visible through his lively and flowing prose. . . . This is an excellent, literate, and insightful work, scholarly enough to advance study of Russian criminality and 'violent capitalism' into fruitful new avenues, readable enough that it need not scare off undergraduates, and as such to be welcomed wholeheartedly."—Mark Galeotti, Keele University, UK, Slavic Review 62:4, Winter 2003.
"Violent Entrepreneurs offers a rather engaging glimpse into the darker recesses of Russia's shadow economy. . . . Volkov's work is exceptionally well researched, relying on statistical data as well as surprisingly candid firsthand interviews with members of criminal groups, heads of private protection companies, active and former police employees, experts, and businesspeople to present its case."—Perspectives on Political Science, Spring 2003, Vol. 32, No. 2
"Vadim Volkov's book moves beyond sensationalist accounts of violence and corruption in Russia to provide a very important analysis of the role of force in the consolidation of Russian capitalism and, particularly, of the Russian state. It will be essential reading for all students of contemporary Russia as well as those concerned with the constitution of the modern state."—Simon Clarke, University of Warwick
"Violent Entrepreneurs is an excellent book that accomplishes a very difficult task. It makes protection interesting without sensationalizing it. It is original, compelling, and well researched."—Timothy Frye, Ohio State University
"Violent Entrepreneurs is a seminal study of the origins and evolution of 'organized crime' in the Soviet and Russian economies from 1987 to 2001. With a sophisticated use of economic sociology, Vadim Volkov combines a first-rate theoretical mind with extensive on-site research and an engaging writing style."—George W. Breslauer, University of California, Berkeley