Examining the Harakternik Phenomenon: A Criminological Analysis




This article delves into the intriguing phenomenon of "Harakternik" within Ukrainian culture, specifically its significant role in the southern Ukrainian tradition, which later became criminal. Harakternik, often shrouded in mystique, holds a unique place alongside other renowned facets like Cossacks, Chumaks, and Haydamaks. Drawing parallels between the southern Ukrainian tradition and the Italian 'Ndrangheta, the study highlights their shared characteristics in criminal activity, focusing on the 'Ndrangheta's resemblance to the harakternik tier. The article also explores literary works that depict the criminal landscape in Odessa, showcasing characters like Cherven, Krasavchik, and Ostap Bender. Overall, it provides a fascinating insight into the intertwining of culture, history, and criminality in the southern Ukrainian tradition.



Author Biography

Dr., European Academy of Sciences of Ukraine

Oleg Maltsev is an author, scientist, criminologist, psychologist, photographer, and investigative journalist. He is the head of the Memory Institute, named after Grigory Semenovich Popov, and the author of groundbreaking scholarly works in criminology, psychology, and philosophy. He is a presidium member and academic member at the European Academy of Sciences in Ukraine (EUASU). He has been engaged in scholarly work for nearly 30 years and has conducted field research with the Expeditionary Corps of the Memory Institute, for a decade. This comparative international research explores the reasons why different nations and rulers attained power throughout history, with an emphasis on culture, military and scientific technique, and mentality.


Babel, I. (1995). Odesskie rasskazy [Odessa Stories]. Family Leisure Club.
Badolati, A. (2017). Le ’ndranghetiste dell’Est. Profili internazionali della mafia calabrese [The ’Ndrangheta of the East. International profiles of the Calabrian mafia]. Luigi Pellegrini.
Butler, P. (2017). Up the Dnepr: Discarding Icons and Debunking Ukrainian Cossack Myths in Gogol’s ‘Strashnaia mest’’. Russian Literature, 93–94, 199–249. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ruslit.2017.11.006
Cacault, M. P., & Grieder, M. (2019). How group identification distorts beliefs. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 164, 63–76. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jebo.2019.05.027
Calderoni, F., Catanese, S., De Meo, P., Ficara, A., & Fiumara, G. (2020). Robust link prediction in criminal networks: A case study of the Sicilian Mafia. Expert Systems With Applications, 161, 113666. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eswa.2020.113666
Catino, M. (2015). Mafia rules. The role of criminal codes in mafia organizations. Scandinavian Journal of Management, 31(4), 536–548. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scaman.2015.10.001
Cho, W. J. (2018). Fairness in group identification. Mathematical Social Sciences. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mathsocsci.2018.04.002
Davydchyk, M., Mehlhausen, T., & Priesmeyer-Tkocz, W. (2018). The price of success, the benefit of setbacks: Alternative futures of EU-Ukraine relations. Futures. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.futures.2017.06.004
Gómez, Á., Vázquez, A., López‐Rodríguez, L., Talaifar, S., Martínez, M., Buhrmester, M. D., & Swann, W. B. (2019). Why people abandon groups: Degrading relational vs collective ties uniquely impacts identity fusion and identification. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 85, 103853. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2019.103853
Craparo, G., David, V., Costanzo, G., & Gori, A. (2018). Cosa Nostra and the Camorra: Assessment of personality, alexithymic traits, and attachment styles. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 58, 17–26. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijlp.2018.02.010
Grajzl, P., & Murrell, P. (2019). Toward understanding 17th century English culture: A structural topic model of Francis Bacon’s ideas. Journal of Comparative Economics, 47(1), 111–135. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jce.2018.10.004
Gratteri, N., & Nicaso, A. (2010). Fratelli di sangue [Blood brothers]. Mondadori.
Hohman, Z. P., Gaffney, A. M., & Hogg, M. A. (2017). Who am I if I am not like my group? Self-uncertainty and feeling peripheral in a group. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 72, 125–132. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2017.05.002
Ilf, I., & Petrov, E. (2011). The twelve chairs: A Novel (A. O. Fisher, Trans.). Northwestern University Press. (Original work published 1928)
Il’f, I., & Petrov, Y. (2014). The little Golden calf: Zolotoy Telenok. Jiahu Books. (Original work published 1931)
Kappeler, А. (2014). Ukraine and Russia: Legacies of the Imperial past and Competing Memories. Journal of Eurasian Studies, 5(2), 107–115. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.euras.2014.05.005
Korniyenko, V. (1919). Zaporizkiy klad [Zaporizhzhia treasure]. Ukrainskoe izdatelstvo v Ekaterinoslave.
Korostelina, K. V. (2013). Ukraine twenty years after independence: Concept models of the society. Communist and Post-communist Studies, 46(1), 53–64. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.postcomstud.2012.12.008
Kozachinsky, A. (1957). Zelenyj furgon [The Green Van]. Detgiz.
Kuprin, A. (1912). Sbornik trudov [Complete Works] (Vol. 5). Tovarishestvo izdatelskogo i pechatnogo dela A. F. Marks.
Lavorgna, A., & Sergi, A. (2014). Types of organised crime in Italy. The multifaceted spectrum of Italian criminal associations and their different attitudes in the financial crisis and in the use of Internet technologies. International Journal of Law Crime and Justice, 42(1), 16–32. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijlcj.2013.11.002
Maltsev, O. V. (2017). Obmanchivaya tishina [Deceptive silence]. Serednyak T. K.
Maltsev, O., & Lunov, V. (2020). Filosofiya Yuga Italii [The Philosophy of Southern Italy]. Serednyak T. K. https://books.google.com.ua/books?vid=ISBN6177822509
Nese, A., O’Higgins, N., Sbriglia, P., & Scudiero, M. (2018). Cooperation, punishment and organized crime: a lab-in-the-field experiment in southern Italy. European Economic Review, 107, 86–98. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.euroecorev.2018.05.004
Nicaso, A., Gratteri, N., & Trumper, J. B. (2014). Male Lingue: Vecchi e nuovi codici delle mafia [Evil Languages: Old and New Codes of the Mobs]. Luigi Pellegrini Editore.
Pace-Sigge, M. (2018). How homo economicus is reflected in fiction – A corpus linguistic analysis of 19th and 20th century capitalist societies. Language Sciences, 70, 103–117. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.langsci.2018.07.005
Paustovsky, K. (1967). Sbornik trudov v vosmi tomah [Collected Works in Eight Volumes] (Vol. 5). Khudozhestvennaya Literatura.
Sera‐Shriar, E. (2015). Arctic observers: Richard King, monogenism and the historicisation of Inuit through travel narratives. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 51, 23–31. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.shpsc.2015.01.016
Skalkovsky, A. (1846). Istoriya Novoj Sechi ili poslednego Kosha Zaporozhskogo [History of the new Sich or the last Kosh Zaporizhian]. Gorodskaya tipografiya Odessy.
Smeekes, A., & Verkuyten, M. (2013). Collective self-continuity, group identification and in-group defense. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 49(6), 984–994. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2013.06.004
Tarasenko, E. (2020, June 6). Chumaki. Literary and scientific newsletter of Hrushevsky. https://www.lnvistnik.com.ua/ru/chumaki
Transcaucasian Association of Proletarian Writers. (1929). Na granice Vostoka [On the Boundary of the East]. Literary and Artistic Monthly Journal, 7–8.