Shishkan: new thief № 1 in Russia 

Shishkan: new thief № 1 in Russia
A thieves’ congregation held in Moscow has elected Shishkan the new thief № 1 in Russia Photo: The CrimeRussia

A friend of politicians, athletes, and celebrities, he could easily become a top functionary – either at the federal level or in his native Ramensky district. Until quite recently, it was believed that he has fled Russia forever or went into hiding – nobody had heard about Shishkan for a long time. However, upon entering on the path of a thief-in-law, he had always adhered to it and, contrary to various speculations, has recently come into the spotlight again. Now Oleg Shishkanov – Shishkan – is going to ascend to the peak of thieves’ fame.

In the course of the trial of Zakhary Kalashov (Shakro Molodoy) charged with extortion, it became clear that the post of the supreme thief of the country can’t stay vacant. Everybody understood that Shakro was facing a lengthy prison term. In March 2018, the state prosecution requested to lock Kalashov up for 10 years – and the ‘succession issue’ became paramount for the thieves’ society. Shishkan was named the most suitable candidate for the thieves’ throne – especially taking that Kalashov himself had supported him. 

In late August, it became known that crowned thieves have held a congregation in Moscow and elected Shishkan the new thief № 1 in Russia. He will also be responsible for maintenance of the thieves’ pooled cash fund.

Who? 

Oleg Nikolaevich Shishkanov was born on July 19, 1964 in the town of Ramenskoe, Moscow region. At the age of 18, he was convicted to 10 years behind bars for rape and murder. 

Reportedly, Shishkan has taken the blame upon himself because his accomplices – repeated offenders – were facing in the Soviet period death penalty for such a severe crime.

Олег Шишканов

Oleg Shishkanov

Shishkanov used to be an ordinary guy from a working family – but the jail became his ‘university’ and transformed the young man into a seasoned criminal. In the course of his prison term, Shishkan has visited plenty of penitentiary institutions – Correctional Labor Colony № 1 (Dubrovlag) in Mordovia, notorious Vladimirsky Tsentral (Vladimir Central Prison), T-4 Maximum Security Prison in Chistopol, Tatarstan, etc. – and established connections with many prominent criminals, including Shakro Molodoy. He had always adhered to the thieves’ code and even became an enforcer by the end of the term. 

In November 1991, he was released, and a year later, authoritative thieves-in-law Makharbek Kargaev (Ruslan) and Valery Dlugach (Globus) have crowned 28-year-old Shishkan (or alternatively Oleg Ramensky) at a thieves’ congregation held in the well-known criminal headquarters – Izmailovo Hotel Complex in Moscow.

Валерий Длугач (Глобус)

Valery Dlugach (Globus)

Not all members of the criminal world were happy with this. For instance, the appearance of a new thief-in-law in the district was not beneficial for Lyuberetskie organized criminal group – some of its members were actively opposing the consolidation of power in the hands of Shishkan. Vitaly Chertov (Chert (Devil)) was among the most active opponents and even attempted to downgrade Shishkan to his previous level in the criminal hierarchy – but somehow, he disappeared without a trace. Reportedly, Vyacheslav Zhigunov (Zhigun), an old friend of Shishkanov, who had repeatedly assisted the crowned thief in the course of his ‘career’, had a hand in this. 

The early 1990s were a period of change in Russia – not only in the political, economic, and social spheres, but in the criminal world as well: the old rules have been shaken, and leaders of various organized criminal groups – former athletes having nothing to do with the prison ‘code’ and ‘culture’ – were striving for power challenging thieves-in-law.

However, Shishkan had still followed the old traditions and, being a ‘right’ thief, personally visited prisons and penal colonies, met with ‘authoritative’ people, maintained the thieves’ pooled cash fund, and created an economic basis to supplement it, thus, trying to establish himself in the criminal world.

Soon he became an active member of the large Slavic thieves’ chapter. In 1995, he has crowned, together with Kalashov, Vyacheslav Chuvarzin (Slava Zeleny (Slava the Green)), in 1996 – Aleksei Zabavin (Zabava (Jolly)), in 1997 – Sergei Stokozub (Samarsky), and in 2014 – Roman Sychev (Sych (Owl)/Roma Kazansky).

Роман Сычев (Сыч)

Roman Sychev (Sych (Owl))

Like all neighboring organized criminal groups, Lyuberetskie and Ramenskie gangs had endless conflicts with each other. The appearance of a thief-in-law in the region has calmed the rivals down for a while and even somewhat reconciled them. Especially taking that Shishkanov had represented Shakro Molodoy and ruled the region on his behalf. In that period, Oleg Ramensky became the shadow owner of nearly all local commercial companies. 

However, in addition to Shishkanov, a member of Lyuberetskie gang – Vyacheslav Shestakov (Sliva (Plum)) – has also acquired the thieves’ status in the early 1990s and pretended to become the local leader. An associate of Shishkan – criminal ‘authority’ Stanislav Tskhvitaria (Khurtsilava) – became a victim of this conflict in 1994: he was gunned down by unknown people in Malakhovka, Moscow region and died on the way to hospital. 

Chava, a criminal ‘authority’ from Solntsevo and henchman of Shishkan in Lyuberetskie gang, has provoked in 1996 another round of the conflict. The bros were unwilling to accept an outsider from the very beginning and later accused him of murdering two his active rivals in the gang. This has indirectly affected the attitude of the criminal world towards Shishkan himself. However, he managed to come out victorious from all complicated situations. 

Вячеслав Шестаков (Слива)

Vyacheslav Shestakov (Sliva (Plum))

The participation of Shishkan in a commercial dispute in 1997 has resulted in numerous murders. Taim company specializing in very profitable and nearly always criminal business – recycling of Moscow waste – was the main matter of the conflict. Vladimir Valiulin (Mowgli), the head of Taim, was in confrontation with Ramenky criminal ‘authority’ Sery (Gray) – who has addressed Shishkanov for arbitration assistance. The verdict delivered by the thief-in-law remains unknown, but shortly after that, Sery was gunned down with a semiautomatic rifle. In response, somebody has dispatched Mowgli. Then Sergei Martynov (Martyn), a friend of the businessman, has vowed to avenge his death. He had suspected Pavel Volchkov (Volchok (Wolfy)), then-‘right hand’ of Shishkan, of this murder – and in July 1998, Volchok disappeared without a trace. Later his corpse was found in the Voskresensky district. But Martynov could not escape the retribution – he was gunned down in August 1998.

Operatives investigating this series of murders decided to visit Shishkan.

Kommersant newspaper wrote that in April 1999, law enforcement officers have stormed into a mansion in Pervomaika village belonging to the crowned thief – but he was not there. Instead, the operatives found inside unemployed Roman Kulpachev and Nikolai Ruban, the new Director of Taim. Both had claimed that they were in this home accidentally. The officers did not believe them and detained the suspects. In the course of the search, the operatives have found in one of the rooms a stash with several shoe boxes containing $1.2 million and almost 3 million rubles (some $120 thousand at the exchange rate of that period). According to the investigation, Kulpachev and Ruban were ‘cashiers', while the discovered monies constituted the thieves’ pooled cash fund. Later the home of Shishkan was set on fire. In fall 1999, an assassination attempt was committed against him.

The killers intended to blow up the thief-in-law in his car – but instead, the ill-fated ‘demolition man’ has blasted himself. In October 1999, Shishkan arrived in his Mercedes-500 to a health and prophylactic center located in the territory of Ramensky Instrument Engineering Plant. Former physics engineer Vitaly Fadeev, who, according to the law enforcement authorities, was in charge of the ‘armory’ of Lyuberetskie gang, was supposed to become the assassin. However, something went wrong, and the bomb has exploded when he was trying to attach it to the car bottom. 

In the late 1990s, similarly with many other criminal ‘authorities’, Shishkan started stepping over the criminal world bounds and establishing connections with representatives of the big business, politics, and professional sports.

Фабио Капелло и Шишкан

Fabio Capello and Shishkan

While the leaders of Podolskie and Chekhovske gangs were developing boxing and hockey under the Vityaz’ (Knight) brand, Shishkan became a football fan and acquired FC Saturn Ramenskoye in 1997. Coincidentally or not, but a year later, under the rule of Shishkan, the team has entered the Premier League (Top Division) and participated in the Russian Football Championship up until 2010. 

By the way, the Mercedes of Shishkan – similarly with his burnt mansion, officially belonging to FC Saturn Ramenskoye – was blasted in the territory of the club’s health and prophylactic center. Not only had Shishkan actively watched games of his club – but played, together with Zhigun, for the Saturn veteran’s team. In 1999, operatives came to Zhigun and found not only drugs, firearms, and explosives – but also the ‘black ledger’ of the football club, including bonuses for players and funds allocated for bribes to judges and rival teams. 

Since that period, Shishkan started increasingly frequently visiting Spain where he was involved, jointly with Shakro Molodoy, in various financial machinations ultimately resulting in the conviction of Kalashov and his confinement in a Spanish prison for several years.

Then the bloody skirmishes of the ‘turbulent 1990s’ became history, and Shishkanov has disappeared from the public sight for a long time. He made a public appearance only in 2009 – at the funeral of legendary thief-in-law Vyacheslav Ivankov (Yaponchik).

Then his name has popped-up again in 2012 – after the mysterious disappearance of Tatiana Sidorova, Deputy of Ramenskoye District Council and Director of Plemzavod Ramenskoye (Ramenskoye Stud Farm). Her husband, son, and sister have also disappeared. The suspicion fell on Shishkan – everybody knew that he had a joint business with Sidorova. Operatives of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation (ICR) arrived at one of his new mansions located at 6 Furmanova street – but found nothing suspicious there, and no criminal case was instituted against the thief-in-law at that time.

Татьяна Сидорова

Tatiana Sidorova

For several years, the law enforcement authorities had been searching for the missing people – but in vain. Finally, in 2015, the investigators received new information indicating the possible involvement of Shishkan in this high-profile case. It became known that a day before the disappearance of the Sidorov family, Ramenky businessman Egor Esin, an associate of Shishkan, had visited the office of the Deputy and had an intense conversation with her. On the same evening, henchmen of the crowned thief were spotted near the cottage of Sidorova in Malakhovo township. 

In November 2015, operatives of the General Administration of Criminal Investigation of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) of the Russian Federation, supported by SWAT troopers, have carried out a special operation to detain the thief-in-law. The field surveillance team including two helicopters had confirmed that Shishkanov was at home – however, the policemen have missed him again (!). According to Rosbalt news portal, after that, Oleg Shishkanov was put on the wanted list and fled abroad.

This version was very popular – for a long time, it was believed that Shishkan has left Russia forever.

It is necessary to note however that operatives are still visiting a mansion officially not belonging to Shishkan on a regular basis. According to the Federal Service for State Registration, Cadastre and Cartography (Rosreestr), a land lot located at 6 Furmanova street with a living area of 5527 square meters and cadastral value of 16,873,544.11 rubles ($248.2 thousand) belongs to Lilia Anatol’evna Strokina since 2007.

Дом на Фурманова, 6

Home at 6 Furmanova street

Interestingly, but Strokina’s pages on social networks feature photos showing her daughters with Shishkanov’s son Ivan – therefore, she is likely somehow related to the thief’s family. Furthermore, the younger daughter of Strokina refers to Ivan as her brother. 

Residents of Ramenskoe confirmed to The CrimeRussia journalist that the district overseer still lives in a luxury guarded home on the 42nd kilometer (the mansion at 6 Furmanova street is located there). 

The residence is consistent with his status – this is a large manor surrounded by trees with convenient access. 

According to the Consolidated State Register of Legal Entities, the 45-year-old property owner is the founder of a dozen companies incorporated in Ramenskoe and Moscow – mostly, real estate agencies and hair salons. 

Лилия Строкина с дочкой

Lilia Strokina with daughter

Her older daughter is married and resides in Moscow; the younger one is studying in a prestigious boarding school in Oundle, Northamptonshire, England. The son of Shishkan is studying in the UK as well – at the University of Warwick, Coventry, West Midlands. The junior generation of the Shishkanov family maintains friendly ties with the children of an old friend of Shishkan – Valery Gazzaev, former President of FC Spartak Vladikavkaz (Alania) and current Deputy Chairman of the Committee for Physical Culture, Sport, Tourism, and Youth Affairs of the State Duma of the Russian Federation.

Ivan_SHishkanov_s_odnokursnikami.jpg

Son of Shishkan

Although FC Saturn Ramenskoye went bankrupt in 2011 and Shishkan got rid of it, he still loves football, and, according to reports of the official VK community, participates in games of Saturn veterans on a regular basis. For instance, on June 11, 2017, he participated in the match between Saturn and Ramen’e, two weeks earlier scored the first goal in the game against Meteor Zhukovsky, while on May 5, 2017, scored the final goal to Al’yans Kolomna.

  Валерий Газзаев и Олег Шишканов

Valery Gazzaev and Oleg Shishkanov

According to the photos, Shishkanov had played for Saturn in 2015 and 2016 as well – i.e. in the period when he, according to some media, was allegedly put on the wanted list. 

A true king? 

On August 20, 2018, it became known that a major congregation has been held in a deluxe restaurant in Luzhniki controlled by thief-in-law Mikhail Voevodin (Misha Luzhnetsky); it involved such authoritative crowned thieves as Vasily Khristoforov (Vasya Voskres (Vasya Resurrected)), Dmitry Chanturia (Miron), Aleksei Petrov (Petrik), Sergei Aksenov (Aksen), Badri Koguashvili (Badri Kutaissky), Kakhaber Parpalia (Kakha), Elgudzha Turkadze (Gudzha Kutaissky), and Merab Gogia (Melia). The main topic was the election of Shishkan the ‘boss of bosses'. According to Rosbalt, no one had objected to this. 

Eduard Asatryan (Edik Osetrina (Edik the Sturgeon Meat)) has granted his consent to this in absentia. The clan led by Lasha Shushanashvili (Lasha Rustavsky) has also supported Shishkan. Furthermore, his candidacy hasn’t raised any issues with an old foe of all followers of Ded Khasan – Merab Dzhangveladze (Merab Sukhumsky). Currently, there is no communication with Kalashov transferred, according to Rosbalt, from Krasnaya Presnya Pretrial Detention Center – but it is known that he does not object against the candidacy of Shishkan

The only person, who has refused to participate in the voting, was Nadir Salifov (Guli) claiming that he "does not need a king".    

Надир Салифов (Гули)

Nadir Salifov (Guli)

On the other hand, some media outlets have placed a question mark over this meeting and its decisions. Their main argument was that, according to the tradition, the thieves are nominally equal and don’t elect a boss for themselves. According to Lenta.ru, even if such an ‘election’ was held, Shishkan is unsuitable to become the supreme thief of the country. 

However, first of all, Shishkan had never come forward himself – he was nominated. Secondly, his new status does not mean that he gains ultimate powers and may arbitrarily make any decisions. Any crowned thief still can act at his own discretion and voluntarily become a part of the system that may possibly be reformed by Shishkan. In addition, the post of the keeper of the thieves’ pooled cash fund makes him more vulnerable due to the huge responsibility associated with it. 

Although no one can proclaim himself the supreme thief-in-law, there were plenty of outstanding persons among them, including above-mentioned Shakro Molodoy, late Ded Khasan and Yaponchik, etc. However, their authority was recognized not by the entire criminal world – everybody knows about the bloody conflict between Ded Khasan on the one hand and Tariel Oniani (Taro) and Merab Sukhumsky on the other hand that has, most probably, resulted in the death of Usoyan.

Захарий Калашов

Zakhary Kalashov

In 2014, Shakro Molodoy returned from Italy and took the post earlier held by Ded Khasan. Being not as bloodthirsty as his predecessor, Kalashov was acceptable for the majority of crowned thieves. Nobody had ever accused him of eliminating competitors – although the methods used by Shakro Molodoy to reconcile rival clans were not approved unanimously: at a global congregation held in Yerevan in 2015, he has decrowned a dozen of thieves at once and imposed a moratorium on new coronations

Of course, some people will be displeased with Shishkan – but this shouldn’t cause any severe consequences. It is quite possible to come to an understanding with Guli – for instance, by letting him finish the annihilation of the clan led by his enemy Rovshan Dzhaniev (Rovshan Lenkoransky). Then Salifov may take the niche always occupied by Azerbaijani natives – racketeering of vegetable markets. 

Why Shishkan

Aside from being a compromise figure acceptable for everybody and ready to undertake this role – a pretty risky one, by the way, – Shishkan is the only prominent thief eligible for this status: he is in Russia and at liberty.

Under different circumstances, another person could become the supreme thief-in-law – but the situation is as it is. It must be admitted though that the law enforcement authorities have considerably reduced the number of potential candidates.

For instance, in February 2017, influential crowned thief Yuri Pichugin (Pichuga (Little Bird)) was arrested in Moscow. The criminal elite considered him a potential successor to Kalashov. But now he is waiting for the trial. The supreme thief of the Komi Republic has been charged under Articles 210 and 222 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (creation of a criminal community (criminal organization) and participation therein; illegal acquisition, transfer, sale, storage, transportation, or bearing of firearms, its basic parts, and ammunition) for episodes that had occurred 20 years ago.

Юрий Пичугин

Yuri Pichugin

The arrest of Pichuga has shaken the positions of his close friend Vladimir Tyurin (Tyurik) – who also used to be a contender for the thieves’ throne. The scandal with an international warrant issued against him by Ukraine in relation to the murder of ex-Deputy Denis Voronenkov has played a certain role as well. 

Lasha Shushanashvili (Lasha Rustavsky), ‘patriarch’ of the powerful ‘Greek’ clan, hadn’t visited Russia for a long time and has recently been put under investigation in Greece. The 57-year-old gangster – dubbed “the leader of Russian-speaking mafia” by local media outlets – has been detained in April 2018 in Thessaloniki. In the course of a special operation, the law enforcement authorities of Greece and France, have also detained some 40 his associates. France has immediately requested his extradition – this would enable it to complete a 2-year-long inquest into the operations of a Georgian criminal syndicate. Concurrently, it became known that Lasha's younger brother Kakhaber (Kakha Rustavsky) serving a 15-year-long term in France may get additional 10 years behind bars.

Лаша Шушанашвили

Lasha Shushanashvili

Thief-in-law Vyacheslav Shestakov (Sliva (Plum)), an old friend of Shishkan representing interests of Lyuberetskie gang, has settled in Europe a long time ago and does not participate in the thieves’ affairs anymore. 

On the other hand, Eduard Asatryan (Edik Osetrina (Edik the Sturgeon Meat)) had taken every effort to raise his authority and become a real candidate for the thieves’ throne. But since recently, his life has been marred by various misfortunes, including conflicts with other crowned thieves (e.g. with Vasya Voskres), searches for new sources of income taking him to unstable and economically profitable Donbass, and decrowning of his son Sergei (Serezha Bentley), hindering the ascension to the criminal Olympus. 

Thieves-in-law Dmitry Chanturia (Miron), and Gela Kardava were also named among the potential contenders – but rather out of respect for late Ded Khasan they were very close to. Gela is currently prohibited from entering Russia for 5 years. Furthermore, recently he was caught in Belarus with a fake passport and now is facing a term in a local penal colony – all penitentiary institutions in Belarus are controlled by criminals collaborating with the prison authorities.

Interesting events could begin in the Russian criminal world next year, after the release of a historical enemy of Ded Khasan (and all his followers) – Tariel Oniani (Taro). But he is facing deportation from Russia and potentially – a prison term in Spain.

Тариел Ониани (Таро)

Tariel Oniani (Taro)

Guli is also unable to enter Russia: in late 2018, the Presnensky District Court of Moscow and District Court of Samara have detained him in absentia for abduction of a person and extortion (Articles 126 and 163 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation).

45-year-old Vasily Khristoforov (Vasya Voskres (Vasya Resurrected)) is a pretty strong figure, especially taking that he was in charge of the thieves’ treasury since the arrest of Kalashov. But apparently, his time hasn’t come yet. 

It is unknown why the list of contenders hadn’t included such powerful thieves as Aleksei Petrov (Petrik), Sergei Aksenov (Aksen), and Mikhail Voevodin (Misha Luzhnetsky). Perhaps, this was their conscious choice?    

In any event, it was Shishkan who made the finish by process of elimination. He had no serious conflicts with other prominent criminals in the recent years and is not expected to make any abrupt movements. Therefore, the current status quo in the Russian criminal world would likely be preserved.

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