Since the early 1990s, Russian criminal networks have plagued the European Union. The spread of organized crime groups from Russia, following the break-up of the Soviet Union, has brought with it increased violence and the rise of illicit networks. However, these organized crime groups thrive precisely because the Eastern European member states of the EU continue to allow the illicit money from these groups to pass through their financial institutions. Whether this is because of corruption or an institutional inability to counteract the problem, money laundering persists, which acts to undermine the EU as a whole.