One of Russia's biggest criminal bosses — call him the country's Don Corleone — was gunned down in the center of Moscow on Wednesday as he left his favorite hangout surrounded by bodyguards.
Aslan Usoyan, a 75-year-old gangster known as Grandpa Khasan, was hit by a sniper perched on the sixth floor of an apartment building, shot in the head by an assailant armed with a silenced assault rifle, the Russian Investigative Committee said in a statement. He died at a hospital, leaving behind a nephew he was grooming for succession and the prospect of a bloody war over turf.
Usoyan controlled prostitution, construction and all manner of protection rackets in Moscow and a wide swath of Russia, according to Mark Galeotti, a New York University professor who has studied the Russian mob for 20 years. The crime boss reportedly had a stranglehold over Sochi, home of the 2014 Winter Olympics, to the envy of the underworld.