The dramatic events of 1991 led to the resignation of then Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev on December 25, left and 27,000 nuclear warheads, and approximately 1,300 tons of fissile material potentially lethal throughout the former Soviet Union and therefore vulnerable to theft or purchase by terrorists (Barry, 1997, p.42). Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn called the new Russia through which thousands of nuclear warheads moves after the disintegration of the Soviet Union a "mix of former officials … almost Democratic Party, the KGB official and black market traders, a hybrid dirty never seen before in world history. " (Cockburn, 1997, p.38) Events that were initially evaluated for further democratization, in turn created a market free of nuclear weapons. This should soon be exploited by organized crime. Major concerns While nuclear smuggling cases that came to public attention seemed to be a fragmented decentralized companies and fans, no doubt these professional activities eliminate new sales channels and increase potential opportunities for the proliferation of WMD.
(Lee, 1997, p.l09) Intercepted due to nuclear smuggling, to date, observers tend to argue that nuclear trafficking can not be regarded as a professional enterprise particularly successful, and that "legitimate" buyers are difficult identify. Moreover, economic considerations seem to result in a low priority in the acquisition of radioactive material and brokerages, as compared to the main activity of organized crime, as it can take weeks or months to find customers. Finally, nuclear smuggling routes identified and arrested so far have been quite predictable. That reflects a supplier looking for a buyer system, the vast majority of illegally acquired material moves to the west of the former Soviet Union in all the Baltic States and Central and Eastern Europe to Germany.