Aslan Usoyan, the godfather of Russian organized crime, was shot and killed by a sniper on Wednesday in central Moscow leaving a power vacuum in the world of post-Soviet crime.
The 75-year-old mobster, known as "Ded Hasan" (Grandpa Hasan), died in a hospital after being shot in the neck as he was leaving the Karetni Dvor restaurant, not far from Arbat Street, a well-known business area, Russian media reported, citing police.
The godfather, a Kurd born in Georgia who had survived a murder attempt in 2010, died in the intensive care unit at Botkinskaya Hospital 10 minutes after being admitted in a deep coma.
A restaurant employee was also hit by gunfire in the incident and was operated upon at a local medical center.
Usoyan, who was convicted for the first time at age 19, rose to the top position within organized crime in the old U.S.S.R. and he was considered to be the most influential organized crime leader in the post-Soviet zone, although he was never harassed by the Russian judiciary.
In 2010, the local press blamed the attempt on Usoyan's life on his rival Tariel Oniani, who was convicted in a Russian court and whose extradition was requested by Spanish authorities as part of "Operation Wasp," which led to the arrests of 180 members of the Russian mafia.
During the Soviet era, the biggest regional crime figures came from Georgia, and in the 1990s after the fall of the Soviet Union Usoyan set himself up first in St. Petersburg and later in Moscow, where he brought almost all the Slavic organized criminal groups under his control. EFE