Jan 17, 2013
Aslan Usoyan, one of Moscow’s most notorious gangsters, was shot dead by a sniper as he left an exclusive restaurant after lunch today.
Given the manner of his execution, it’s clear Usoyan, also known as “Grandpa Hassan”, was a big deal.
Charles Clover, writing about Moscow’s mafia wars in 2011 for the Financial Times, observed that the last time someone tried to kill Usoyan it was an intricately planned exercise that involved him being shot in the stomach with a Kalashnikov.
This is important because in the Russian underworld the manner you are executed is directly related to your importance, Clover wrote, so a Kalashnikov was a big honor. If Usoyan was shot with a sniper rifle today, that seems to be an even greater honor.
Over the course of the day tributes to Usoyan have flooded Russian social networks, and tabloid Life News has not only published a 3D simulation of the murder, but a graphic photo of the dead godfather’s face.
But what does Usoyan’s death mean for the Russian criminal underworld? NYU professor Dr Mark Galeotti has written a long post about Aslan Usoyan on his blog, In Moscow’s Shadows, which details how Usoyan’s death could be an ominous sign of things to come.
This article was posted: Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 5:58 am