Slavic wing. What thieves-in-law to be arrested next under new ‘anti-thievish’ law?
The struggle against thieves-in-law pursuant to the ‘anti-thievish’ law endorsed by the President in April 2019 is escalating to a new level – even though some experts were initially skeptical about this bill. One by one, thieves-in-law are charged under Article 210.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (holding a supreme position in the criminal hierarchy) – and the panic in their ranks is growing. Even influential crowned thieves, including those currently serving their terms, are in danger.
A few days ago, it became known that another thief-in-law has been charged with holding a supreme position in the criminal hierarchy. Akhmed Evloev (Akhmed Sutuly (Akhmed Stooping)) was detained in August 2018 in Krasnogorsk, Moscow region, with drugs. During the court session held to determine his pretrial restrictions, Evloev said that the drugs were planted on him. Later, the investigators established that the detained suspect was crowned in 1996.
According to the Press Service of the General Administration for the Moscow Region of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) of the Russian Federation, Akhmed Sutuly resided in Moscow, coordinated activities of criminal groups in the Khimki, Lyubertsy, and Krasnogorsk districts and in Sheremetyevo Airport, created and maintained ties between these groups and other thieves, and directly participated in the division of spheres of influence and criminal incomes.
Akhmed Evloev (Akhmed Sutuly)
In the past, the law enforcement authorities had already tried to charge the thief-in-law under Article 228 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (illegal acquisition, storage, transportation, making, or processing of narcotic drugs). In January 2017, he was arrested in Chaikhana Al-Halal Restaurant in Moscow. During the personal search, operatives of the MIA Main Directorate for Criminal Investigation have found a sachet with ‘spice’ on him. The 45-year-old crowned thief has spent in the pretrial detention facility almost a year – however, the investigation failed to produce the indictment and submit it to the court. Evloev was released after the expiration of the maximum permissible detention term – but the criminal proceeding instituted against him was not terminated.
Several days before that, 33-year-old thief-in-law Shalva Ozmanov (Kuso), a grand nephew of Zakhary Kalashov (Shakro Molodoy), has been charged under Article 210.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. Currently, he is held in the Pretrial Detention Facility № 3 of Moscow also known as Presnya. Ozmanov was detained in spring and charged under Article 111 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (intentional infliction of a grave injury). In addition, in December 2018, he was convicted to a conditional term for possession of firearms – Kuso had threatened a patron of a Krasnodar bar with a handgun.
Kuso (on the very left)
The new charges have been laid against the crowned thief for his attempts to restore the thievish status of Besik Kvinikhidze (Beso Rustavsky) who was earlier decrowned. The operatives obtained a voice message distributed in penal colonies by Kvinikhidze. According to that message, Shakro Molodoy and other thieves were involved with this issue. As a result, thief № 1 may now be prosecuted for his status, too.
In other words, any circular letter indicating who makes decisions in the criminal world may become evidence against thieves-in-law mentioned in it. Apparently, operatives have got a tool enabling them to neutralize any criminal ‘authorities’ using the new law.
To refresh background: the amendments to Article 210 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (creation of a criminal community (criminal organization) and participation therein) signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in April 2019 stipulate more severe punishments for thieves. Article 210.1 (holding a supreme position in the criminal hierarchy) was added to the Criminal Code; the maximum punishment for this crime is 15 years behind bars.
Initially, it seemed that the new article causes more hype than real threat – in the first three months, only one criminal case was instituted under it against not very powerful crowned thief Nikolai Kuzmichev (Kolya Tomsky). According to a source in the law enforcement authorities, Kuzmichev has no criminal record, never served prison terms, and never held real authority in Tomsk.
Kolya Tomsky (sitting in the center)
Some experts thought that Article 210.1 was just a populist innovation, and its effect would be limited to one–two arrests. However, the situation has quickly got off the ground.
In early July, the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) of the Russian Federation has instituted a criminal case under the new article against thief-in-law Bairamidi Dzhumber (Boncho). The Tverskoy District Court of Moscow had arrested him in absentia on February 26. A day earlier, an international warrant was issued against Bairamidi for extortion of 3.5 million rubles ($53.6 thousand) from a suspect held in the Pretrial Detention Facility of Kashira committed by an organized group. His accomplices were detained, while Boncho, according to some sources, is currently hiding in Greece.
On July 14, the most high-profile arrest of this year was made: supreme thief of the country Oleg Shishkanov-Medvedev (Shishkan, Oleg Ramensky) was detained in his home in the Moscow region on suspicion of holding a supreme position in the criminal hierarchy.
Shishkan in the pretrial detention facility (still of a videoconference)
The mosaic adorning the bottom of the swimming pool in his home and resembling a thieves’ star was used as a proof of his guilt. The operatives had also tried to find a similar star on his body. Shishkan claims that the star in the swimming pool is a wind rose, and his only tattoo depicts Virgin Mary.
Later, an investigator told the court that, since 1992 (i.e. since the release after serving his first term), Shishkan “has been coordinating activities of organized criminal groups in the Moscow region, creating and maintaining ties between these groups, participating in the division of spheres of influence and criminal incomes, creating conditions for committing crimes by these groups, and contributing to the merger of the interests of criminals and governmental officials”. As a result, the court remanded Shishkan in custody for two months.
Star on the bottom of the swimming pool in the home of Shishkan
A few days later, it became known that another crowned thief – Oleg Pirogov (Tsirkach (Circus Man)) is facing charges under the new article. Two criminal groups controlled by Tsirkach and specializing in the extortion of money from businessmen were recently busted in the Moscow region. This spring, Tsirkach managed to escape arrest – the operatives were going to bust him in a restaurant – and currently resides abroad. If the court satisfies the motion brought by the investigation, a submission would be made to Interpol to include Pirogov in the search database. According to some information, he may be hiding in Central America.
In most cases, charges under Article 210.1 of the Criminal Code are combined with other grievous crimes – the thieves may be either detained for these offenses or suspected of them. This severely disturbs all thieves-in-law residing in Russia – both influential and not.
Oleg Pirogov (Tsirkach)
Taking that the thieves’ pooled cash fund remains unsupervised after the arrest of Shishkan, many of them are now facing a hard choice: on the one hand, it is very prestigious to be its keeper, but on the other hand, it is extremely dangerous nowadays. The idea to relocate the thieves’ pooled cash fund to a safer country (e.g. Turkey) is currently discussed. Accordingly, its keeper would also stay there. This practice has already been used in relation to local thieves’ funds – for instance, the treasury used to assist inmates of penal colonies in the Moscow region was relocated abroad a long time ago. Its keeper – crowned thief Revaz Kakhmatov (Rezo Lotkinsky), a relative of Shakro Molodoy – decided to flee the country at some point, and this was a wise decision: in May 2019, he was put on the international wanted list. Many thieves consider emigration from Russia their only option – despite the risk of losing power in the domestic criminal world.
To be on the safe side, many thieves-in-law have fled the country amid the active application of Article 210 of the Criminal Code and discussion of new amendments to it. For instance, Ramaz Dzneladze (Ramaz Kutaissky) – who had to be deported after the release from the penal colony but managed to stay in Moscow for some time – opted to relocate abroad. Crowned thieves Guram Chikhladze (Kvezhoevich) and Georgy Kalashyan (Kotik Mladshy (Cat Junior)) emigrated to Israel. Ruslan Gegechkori (Shlyapa Mladshy (Hat Junior)) has relocated to Cyprus after the release – the clan led by his father Roland Gegechkori (Roland Shlyapa (Roland Hat)) and Merab Mzarelua (Duyake) is currently operating there. Several more ‘mafiosi’ have settled in Bulgaria.
Ruslan Gegechkori (Shlyapa Mladshy)
Concurrently, the list of ‘safe heavens’ for thieves is steadily decreasing. Such European countries as Spain and Italy – once favored by Russian gangsters – are now actively struggling against criminals from the former Soviet Union, while the United Arab Emirates where crowned thief Nadir Salifov (Guli) currently resides are too expensive for the majority of the thieves.
Immediately after the arrest of Shishkan, influential thief-in-law Aleksei Petrov (Suvorov), also known as Petrik, has fled Russia. On August 2, the media had mistakenly reported his assassination – they missed Petrik with a Ukrainian ‘mafioso’ of the same name.
According to sources of Rosbalt.ru, now Petrov spends his time in Italy, Spain, and Switzerland and does not plan to return to Russia. Reportedly, Petrik had friendly ties with detained Shishkan and frequently met with him in the Moscow region to discuss joint projects.
From left to right: Gavriil Yushvaev (Garik Makhachkala) (the third), Aleksei Suvorov (Petrik) (the fourth), Oleg Shishkanov (Shishkan) (the sixth)
Petrov was also repeatedly spotted in Sochi where he had interests. It is known that that Petrov was very cautious – he had only one-on-one meetings with other thieves and abstained from participation in congregations.
Another influential Slavic thief, Mikhail Voevodin (Misha Luzhnetsky), residing in Switzerland also stopped visiting Russia. In the past, he making short trips to his native country on a regular basis.
According to some information, after the arrest of Shishkan, crowned thieves Aleksei Zabavin (Lekha Zabava (Lekha Amusement)) and Aleksander Zakharov (Shurik Zakhar) supported by Sergei Lalakin (Luchok (Little Onion)) have taken control over the criminal affairs in the metropolitan area.
Vladimir Tyurin (Tyurik) and Sergei Aksenov (Aksen) stay in Moscow – but their involvement with the thieves’ world is limited latterly.
Tyurik is currently in hiding – the Ukrainian authorities accuse him of masterminding the murder of Denis Voronenkov, ex-Deputy of the State Duma, committed in March 2017 in Kiev. Later, Maria Maksakova, widow of the ex-Deputy and former common-law partner of the thief-in-law, said that she does not believe in the involvement of Tyurin in this crime. The supposed organizers of this murder – ‘criminal authorities’ Eduard Akselrod and Yuri Vasilenko – were killed in Kharkiv and Moscow respectively. This assassination of Voronenkov affected the participation of Tyurik in the election of a successor to Shakro Molodoy – his candidacy was considered too toxic.
Tyurik and Maksakova
Aksen could receive a ‘warning’ in October 2018. The thief was returning from a small congregation, and his limousine accompanied by SUVs transporting bodyguards was pulled over at the entrance to Moscow. Earlier, Aksen, Tyurik, and another prominent ‘criminal authority’ had a meeting reportedly dedicated to the situation in the criminal world and changes in the sand extraction and garbage disposal businesses controlled by them. The details of the conversation between Aksenov and the operatives are unknown – but the thief was released on the same day.
By the way, the redistribution of the waste management business in the Moscow region is considered one of the reasons behind the current clampdown on members of the thieves’ world – many of them had traditionally controlled this sphere.
Aksen during one of the arrests
According to anonymous sources, Shishkan had actively tried to play on this market on his own behalf and on behalf of his friend Gavriil Yushvaev (Garik Makhachkala) – who has been hiding in Turkey since the shootout in Moskva-City Business Center. Following that gunplay, a conflict has escalated between the crowned thief, Luchok (leader of Podolskie organized criminal group), and some law enforcement functionaries. The interests of Medvedev and Yushvaev in waste landfills had concerned thief-in-law Dmitry Chanturiya (Mironchik) – who maintains normal relations with Luchok and was appointed by supreme law enforcement officials to operate on this market.
Overall, it is safe to assume that most prominent Slavic thieves are currently at risk.
Their ranks include, in addition to Tyurik and Aksen, Vasily Khristoforov (Vasya Voskres (Vasya Resurrected)) – who may now pretend to the ‘throne’ of thief № 1 remaining vacant since the arrests of Shishkan and Shakro Molodoy. Khristoforov wields significant powers in the Moscow region; during the rule of Aslan Usoyan (Ded Khasan), he was the keeper of a portion of the thieves’ pooled cash fund.
According to sources of Rosbalt.ru, crowned thief Konstantin Borisov (Kostya Kostyl’ (Kostya Crutch)), who was released in December 2018, recently started demonstrating an increasing activity. Borisov controls the Northwestern Administrative District of Moscow, Solnechnogorsk and Krasnogorsk districts of the Moscow region, Khimki, and Bryansk and Tver regions. Another influential Slavic thief is Oleg Plotnikov (Plotnik (Carpenter)) – ‘mafia king’ of the Voronezh region.
Oleg Plotnikov (Plotnik)
It is necessary to note that Article 210.1 of the Criminal Code (holding a supreme position in the criminal hierarchy) can be most easily applied to thieves held in detention. It is an effective weapon in the struggle against them that may even substitute Article 210 of the Criminal Code (creation of a criminal community (criminal organization) and participation therein).
For instance, even the general public is aware that Shakro Molodoy is not an ordinary crowned thief – but ‘thief № 1’. Both investigators and prosecutors had named him thief-in-law during the trial – but still failed to prove that. Last year, the Nikulinsky District Court of Moscow has found Kalashov guilty only under paragraphs “a” and “b” of part 3 of Article 163 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (extortion committed by an organized group with violence on an especially large scale).
In fact, the law enforcement authorities may now stop spending effort on evidence collection and instead keep crowned thieves in penal institutions as long as possible by lodging more and more charges against them. Vladimir Barsukov-Kumarin, leader of Tambovskie organized criminal group, who once was called ‘night governor’ of St. Petersburg, is currently experiencing this.
For instance, Moscow investigators started executing the decision of the Tagansky District Court of Moscow to restore a missing criminal case against Kalashov. This refers to swindling on an especially large scale and illegal seizure of Crystal and Golden Palace Casinos in 2000. The case file has disappeared from the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation (ICR) under mysterious circumstances. In addition, the Georgian authorities have charged Kalashov with abduction of American businessman Alex Crane, a co-owner of Crystal Casino in Moscow. The businessman is still considered missing, while his share currently belongs to Shakro. Kalashov was sentenced in Georgia to 18 years behind bars.
Another ‘criminal heavyweight’ – Yuri Pichugin (Pichuga (Little Bird)) was detained in February 2017.
Yuri Pichugin (Pichuga)
A criminal case was instituted against him and members of his gang under Articles 210 and 222 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (creation of a criminal community (criminal organization) and participation therein and illegal acquisition, transfer, sale, storage, transportation, or bearing of firearms). According to the investigation, the organized criminal group under the leadership of Pichugin had operated in the Komi Republic for the last 20 years. Pichugin was considered one of the contenders to the thieves’ ‘throne’ remaining vacant since the arrest of Kalashov in summer 2016.
In 2017, the Altai Krai Court has found thief-in-law Mamuka Chkadua (Mamuka Gal’sky) guilty under parts 1, 2, and 4 of Article 210 the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation and sentenced him to 17 years behind bars. All members of his gang – some 20 persons – were convicted and locked up as well. The investigation established that Mamuka Gal’sky has created an organized criminal group in the Altai Krai in 2012.
Crowned thief Andrei Tkachenko (Tkach Nyagan’sky) is currently facing a life term under Article 210 the Criminal Code. His trial has commenced in the Altai Krai in September 2018. According to the investigation, the thief has created a criminal community operating in big cities of the region and specializing in extortion, swindling, thefts, and carjacking. The criminal proceeds were transferred to Moscow from where Tkachenko had controlled his subordinates.
The authorities had planned to prosecute another prominent thief-in-law – Viktor Panyushin (Vitya Pan) – under Article 210 the Criminal Code, but he managed to escape. The investigation believes that, in the 2000s, Panyushin, then-overseer of the Kursk region, has created a gang responsible for a number of grievous and especially grievous crimes, including real estate frauds, appropriations of monetary funds, and abductions.
On December 7, 2018, influential crowned thief Kakhaber Parpaliya (Kakha Gal’sky) was detained in the Kuntsevo district of Moscow. In the course of the personal search, a sachet with eight grams of cocaine was found on him. The driver of his armored Mercedes had a criminal record, and an unregistered handgun was seized from him. Article 228 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (illegal acquisition, storage, transportation, making or processing of narcotic drugs) used to be the favorite tool of the law enforcement authorities in their struggle against thieves. However, according to some information, Kakha Gal’sky may also be charged under Article 210 of the Criminal Code (creation of a criminal community (criminal organization) and participation therein). The investigators allegedly obtained evidence linking Parpaliya with a gang of purse snatchers based in Lobnya, Moscow region. Taking the recent developments, he may be easily charged under Article 210.1 of the Criminal Code (holding a supreme position in the criminal hierarchy) – especially taking that Kakha Gal’sky was involved in the creation of the thieves’ pooled cash fund.
The situation with thief-in-law Tariel Oniani (Taro) – who has served his 10-year-long term almost in full but was detained at the exit from the penal colony – remains uncertain. On May 15, the Promyshlenny District Court of Orenburg has extended his pretrial detention term until October 8. To refresh background: Oniani was arrested on April 9 as a person without citizenship and pursuant to an international warrant immediately after his release from the Maximum Security Penal Colony № 6 nicknamed Black Dolphin. On the same day, the Sol’-Iletsky District Court of the Orenburg Region remanded him in custody for 40 days – until May 19.
Tariel Oniani (Taro)
The Spanish authorities accuse Oniani of money laundering and creation of a criminal community operating in the period from 1995 to 2005. The Prosecutor’s Office of Spain asks to lock up the crowned thief for 8.5 years and fine him €50 million. However, anonymous sources claim that the extradition of Taro to Spain is unlikely. The question is: why is he kept in Russia? It cannot be ruled out that the Russian authorities are going to apply Article 210.1 of the Criminal Code (holding a supreme position in the criminal hierarchy) to him. After all, these amendments were personally initiated by Vladimir Putin.