Mikhail Mamiashvili's gangster ways
"Sportsmen are like children; they kill without noticing it." This well-known phrase of a criminal leader Otari Kvantrishvili who was shot in 1994 took a new meaning in the light of a high-profile scandal at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, at the forefront of which is his friend, the Head of the Russian Wrestling Federation, Olympic champion and one of the most influential persons in Russian sport, Mikhail Mamiashvili.
Having congratulated a sportswoman Inna Trazhukova, who had lose the battle over bronze, with a drunk abuse and two punches in the face, instead of remorse, Mamiashvili kept on accusing her of "betrayal of the national team."
Shocked and outraged by the behavior of the head of the Russian Wrestling Federation, Inna Trazhukova herself reported the incident to Sport-Ekspress.
This is what happenned. August 18, the Russian athlete lost the match in the weight category up to 63 kg to her Polish rival Monika Michalik by a score of 3:6 at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
In the training room, she was met by the head of the Russian Wrestling Federation, who was drunk; cursing her in every way possible, he hit her in the face twice in the presence of witnesses. According to Trazhukova, coaches Irbek Farniev and Zaur Botaev hardly managed to stop the mad Mamiashvili.
The athlete told the newspaper that she intends to write a letter to the Prosecutor's Office on the fact of beating and personally report the incident to the Minister of Sports of the Russian Federation after her return from Brazil.
"I'm not a slave to treat me like that because of a lost battle! I was humiliated in front of people. I want to put an end to it, so that sportswomen do not suffer from this in future!," the Russian national team representative shared her overwhelming emotions to the news agency.
Mikhail Mamiashvili, on his part, has already commented on the incident in the media, describing it as "a tough and difficult conversation" with the athlete, but failing to recognize the physical abuse.
However, contrary to the premature conclusions drawn by some media, stating that the head of the Russian Wrestling Federation is ready to apologize for his action before Trazhukova, the quote sounded very different:
"I can apologize for anything, but I am unable to change my attitude to the lack of will. We must mercilessly root out the weak will and indifference. This makes the team burst at its seams, and this is our vulnerability. Trazhukova'd better comment on her limp and feeble failure. Do I have to thank her for the tourist trip?"
There is hardly any recognition of a wrong-doing in Mamiashvili’s comments. He is not at all worried about the upcoming debriefing, which the Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko promised to carry out once the Olympic team returns home, nor do the possible judicial proceedings on Trazhukova's appeal scare him.
"No court can convince my that I may not express my feelings about the limp and indifferent person... I did not come to Brazil to wipe their noses, but to comfort the athletes when they do their best in battle, but lose. On no account does it include people, who have weak will, so to speak," Mamiashvili announced.
It gets worse and worse as it goes on. Today, in his comment to TASS, the Head of the Russian Wrestling Federation has changed over to the offensive, accusing the athlete in "betraying the interests of the national team" and stating she either had to abandon the Olympics, or "die on the carpet, but not miss the medal."
"Everyone is here to fight for the flag, the country, the team, the family, and his name. You had to warn us that you would betray us in a difficult moment; say I will not put efforts to overcome the complexities and weaknesses, and betray you, instead. She fought with an athlete, who was twice weaker than her. What she did was lasting through the battle instead of fighting and dying for the victory; now she constantly gets interviewed, drawing fake attention," said Mamiashvili.
It is noteworthy that there is no indication of Mamiashvili's regret of using physical force against a woman, not to mention the verbal abuse that the sports official uses time and again, and not only in relation to Trazhukova.
The day before her defeat, he publicly refused to congratulate athletes Natalya Vorobyova and Valeriya Koblova on receiving silver medals, accusing them of lack of will and saying "giving up the first place is the losers' domain." He spoke no less sharply about the semifinal match of a bronze medalist Ekaterina Bukina and her rival from Kazakhstan: "She reclined and laid down. She had a single change to lose, and she used it."Reprimanding a combat general
Of course, Mikhail Mamiashvili's statements and actions at the Olympics did not go unnoticed by the major figures of Russian and international sports. Expect none of them condemned the physical abuse on the part of the head of the Russian Wrestling Federation, confining themselves to general phrases and appealing for calm.
Mikhail Mamiashvili and Vitaly Mutko
Vitaly Mutko has already spoken, promising to "size up the situation when Trazhukova personally visits him and tells the story"; the Head of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) Aleksandr Zhukov has advised Mamiashvili to take a hold on himself and optimistically declared that "everything will be fine"; the President of the Russian Tennis Federation and IOC member Shamil Tarpishchev has called Mamiashvili a great guy and encouraged people not to judge him too strictly.
Whereas the Head of the United World Wrestling (UWW) Nenad Lalovich and the head boxing coach of Russia Alexandr Lebzyak have called Inna Trazhukova's words into question, saying they do not believe in beating.Victors do not have to justify themselves?
Such gentle treatment of colleague by fellow sports managers and mentors is understandable.
It is difficult to find a more authoritative and influential person than Mikhail Mamiashvili in the Russian elite sport. There is a number of sporting achievements at the international level on his account, including four-time world champion and three-time European champion in Greco-Roman wrestling, winner of two Golden Belts for best fighter of the world, holder of many awards, and former Head of the big CSKA in the rank of colonel.Flashback from the 90s'
Mikhail Mamiashvili and Otari Kvantrishvili at the Olympic base near Podolsk
Even the publicly available information on Mamiashvili's close ties with the criminal world did not defame his monumental reputation; Mikhail Mamiashvili is known to be a close friend of Otari Kvantrishvili, the leader of one of the Georgian organized crime groups. According to some media reports, together they had been engaged in business, conducted in the manner of the freewheeling 1990s, until Kvantrishvili was shot from a sniper rifle at the exit from the Krasnaya Presnya baths by Lesha Soldat by order of the Orekhov organised group founder Silvestr.
According to Kompromat.ru, back then Mamiashvili himself leaded a southwestern gang, which curated the Central Tourist House; however, after Otarik's death, he decided to take a lower profile and concentrate on sports official's career.
Later, Mamiashvili's name was cited in connection with other criminal personalities and incidents, but the servants of the law had no official complaints to the head of the Russian Olympic Committee.“Who would arrest him? He’s but a monument”
Sports officials' unanimous disbelief in the famous wrestler physically abusing people does not fit with the high-profile incident, which took place in 2011 in the upper echelons of Russian sport.
In November 2011, an honored coach of Greco-Roman wrestling, the director of the sports complex of the Olympic Village on Michurinsk Prospekt Gennady Snigur, who had severe fractures of facial bones, was taken to the intensive care unit of the City Hospital No. 36 directly from the Russian Olympic Committee building.
Later, the Moscow Post reported that Snigur had a meeting with the president of the Wrestling Federation Mikhail Mamiashvili, however, a criminal investigation into the beating was brought against a group of unidentified persons.
Gennady Snigur beaten up
The proceedings at the Investigation Department of the MIA of Russia for the Central Administrative District of the MIA General Administration revealed no defendant in the case, although Mr. Snigur, who had endured multiple craniocerebral surgeries and became disabled as a result of beatings, expressly stated to investigators that he had been beaten by the world champions in Greco-Roman wrestling Mikhail Mamiashvili and Serget Tsvir.
As a result, the incident was hushed up, and the Russian Wrestling Federation led by Mamiashvili took the control over the sports facilities of the Olympic Village.Ossetia invasion
Another significant "season" appearance of Mamiashvili's name the media was associated with the head coach of men's Russian national team in freestyle wrestling Dzambolat Tadeev's aggressive election campaign for the presidency of the Republic of South Ossetia; Tadeev was a brother of a criminal leader Ibragim Tadeev (Dikiy), shot in 2006 in Vladikavkaz, and one of the leaders of the Tadeev family organized crime group, according to the South Ossetian Press.
Mikhail Mamiashvili and Dzambolat Tadeev
According to media, the Head of the Russian Wrestling Federation was among thirty other Russian and Ukrainian officials and athletes in a motorcade of 25 luxury cars headed by Tadeev, which entered the central square of Tskhinvali in 2011.
Then Tadeev publicly insulted government representatives; it resulted in a conflict with riot police, who had to make warning shots into the air. As it was reported, Mamiashvili was one of the most influential Tadeev's supporters in Moscow; he even arranged a campaign to raise funds in his name in the Russian capital, gathering about 100 million rubles.
Such frequent mentioning of the legendary wrestler's connection with semi-criminal structures could not go unnoticed in the world; thus, Mamiashvili has been repeatedly denied entry visas to Finland and the United States.
The Head of the Russian Wrestling Federation claims that this is due to his international sports activities, but diplomatic sources of these countries argue that the matter is his previous criminal connections.
In Russia, no one remembers his criminal past; the sportsman has a long list of achievements to weigh against all of this (unless the Rio incident sets off a revision of the semi-criminal activities, carried out by some sports officials, especially those of the martial arts representatives).
Despite the liberal tone of the sports leadership, the prerequisites for this revision have already appeared. Today the first coach of Inna Trazhukova Boris Chernov demanded the resignation of Head of the Russian Wrestling Federation Mikhail Mamiashvili, considering his aggressive actions unacceptable.
The regional authorities of Inna Trazhukova's hometown, the city of Ulyanovsk, were also perturbed by the behaviour of the Russian Wrestling Federation.
"The disciple's defeat is his/her mentor's fault," believe the Regional Minister of Sports Sergey Kuzmin and the Head of Health Department Pavel Degtyarev, who urged Vitaly Mutko to make a fair assessment of Mamiashvili’s deed in his Twitter account.