Pichuga's arrest was possible only after Gaizer’s?

Pichuga's arrest was possible only after Gaizer’s?
Yury Pichugin (Pichuga)

The arrest of the thief in law is a follow-up to the case of former Komi Governor Vyacheslav Gaizer.

The infamous thief in law Yury Pichugin (Pichuga) has been arrested for the crimes his gang conducted for over 20 years. At the same time, it became possible only after the arrest of former Komi Governor Vyacheslav Gaizer, who was taken in custody in September 2015. Sources in law enforcement bodies told Rosbalt about this. To recall, the thief himself was detained in February 2017. 

According to the publication's source, during a conversation in Kremlin held at the highest level, new Head of the region Sergey Gaplikov, who assumed his position in the autumn of 2016, noted that not only people from Gaizer’s team but also members of Pichuga’s gang were hampering his work. A few months later, in February 2017, officers of the FSB Central Office detained Pichuga.

It coincided with the discussion of who would replace arrested Zakhar Kalashov (Shakro Molodoy). As a result, the latter was sentenced to 9 years and ten months for extortion. Now, Pichuga himself may be imprisoned. The recently completed investigation by the ICR Investigations Directorate in the Republic of Komi charges him with some grave crimes, including Organization of a Criminal Community, Illegal Storage of Firearms, and Murder. 

However, even before the arrest, Pichugin had been a kingmaker behind the changes in the criminal underworld. In particular, he offered his protégé as a replacement for Shakro – thief in law Vladimir Tyurin (Tyurik). It was thief in law Lasha Shushanashvili (Lasha Rustavsky) who was supposed to take control over the criminal processes abroad. In the autumn and winter of 2016, the discussion of new candidature for the position of ‘Thief in Law No. 1’ began; Pichuga could be seen visiting Shushanashvili in Greece and meeting with Tyurik. Pichugin was among the honored guests of the latter’s a birthday party in November 2016.

However, after Pichuga was arrested, and Ukraine accused Tyurin of staging the murder of ex-deputy Denis Voronenkov in Kyiv, Tyurik’s chances to seize the throne vanished. In April, Lasha Rustavsky was detained in Greece. 

Recently, Oleg Shishkanov (Shishkan) has become the new ‘Thief in Law No. 1.’

A criminal case under Art. 210 (Creation of a Criminal Community) and Art. 159 (Swindling) of the Russian Criminal Code has been initiated against Gaizer and eighteen more people. His case is still under consideration. Earlier this year, the ICR reported that the damage caused by the actions of the organized crime group led by the ex-Governor amounted to 3.5 billion rubles ($52.780).

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