By Mark Galeotti. Fri 23 Mar I was in Moscow induring the final years of the Soviet Union. The system was sliding towards shabby oblivion, even if no one knew at the time how soon the end would come.
While carrying out research for my doctorate on the impact of the Soviet war in Afghanistan, I was interviewing Russian veterans of that brutal conflict.
When I could, I would meet these afgantsy shortly after they got home, and then again a year into civilian life, to see how they were adjusting. Most came back raw, shocked and angry, either bursting with tales of horror and blunder, or spikily or numbly withdrawn. A year later, though, most had done what people usually do in such circumstances: they had adapted, they had coped. The nightmares were less frequent, the memories less vivid.
But then there were those who could not or would not move on. Some of these young men collaterally damaged by the war had become adrenaline junkies, or just intolerant of the conventions of everyday life. One of the men I got to know during this time was named Volodya. Wiry, intense and morose, he had a brittle and dangerous quality that, on the whole, I would have crossed the road to avoid.
He had been a marksman in the war. The other afgantsy I knew tolerated Volodya, but never seemed comfortable with him, nor with talking about him. He always had money to burn, at a time when most were eking out the most marginal of lives, often living with their parents and juggling multiple jobs.
As the values and structures of Soviet life crumbled and fell, organised crime was emerging from the ruins, no longer subservient to the corrupt Communist party bosses and the black-market millionaires.
Some were bodyguards, some were runners, some were leg-breakers and some — such as Volodya — were killers.
I never found out what happened to Volodya. He probably ended up as a casualty of the gang wars of the s, fought out with car bombs, drive-by shootings and knives in the night.The Chechen mafia is one of the largest organized crime groups operating in the former Soviet Union next to established Russian mafia gangs, which originally consisted of criminals of Chechen ethnicity who later also tried to recruit former Russian special military forces, police and army officers.
It has substantially decreased its presence in Moscow by after Slavic mafia groups united against their Chechen counterpart, with assistance from Russian police and the FSB the former KGB.
As it happened most of Chechen gang members returned to Chechnya and joined the rising Chechen separatist movement. The Chechen mafia is often referenced to as the "Russian mafia" in Europe, because most people of Chechen ethnicity speak Russian and many immigrated from the Russian Federation during the wars. According to the documentary The making of a new empire directed by Jos de Putterthe group originated in after a Chechen student at Moscow State University named Khozh-Ahmed Noukhaev founded an underground opposition movement, which later became known as the widely feared Obshina.
By Chechen criminals had developed into a well-organized community under Nukhayev and Nikolay Suleimanov, the group forced the most influential local OC gangs the Lyubertsy, Solntsevoand Balashikha out of Moscow which allowed the Chechens to occupy the dominant position. Unlike other Russian OC groups, the Obshina was considered a hybrid criminal-political entity, which used illegal proceeds to finance and arm separatists fighters during the Chechen Wars.
This unique characteristic has resulted in a trend towards blurring the distinction between organized crime and terrorists groups and has confused many observers as to the Obshina's overall motivations. It is still not entirely clear whether they are more interested in creating an independent nation-state or in perpetuating regional instability so that they might continue to profit from the drug trade and other criminal activities. The group was last rumored to be led by Nikolay Suleimanovwho is currently trying to expand his way into the lucrative East European cigarette smuggling racket.
Chechen criminal groups and guerrilla factions reportedly play a significant part in the narcotics trade in Central AsiaRussia and the Caucasus region. In the First Chechen War guerrillas used funding from a variety of rackets as well as the sale of oil.
However in the Second Chechen War the fighters received huge financial backing from Saudi Arabian militant Ibn Al-Khattabwho joined with guerrilla leader Shamil Basayev and became a prominent figure in the war. This marginalized some figures such as Ruslan Gelayevwho turned to the drugs trade full time.
The Chechen mafia appears to dominate the traditional Russian mafia organizations in the drugs trade.
One Tajik drug trafficker stated he preferred to sell his product to Chechen gangs rather than Russians, because of the Chechen's high-reaching contacts in both the underworld and police force. The Chechen influence runs even so far as to Murmanskwhere starting from the head of the province's Internal Affairs Administration was actually a puppet for a Chechen named Vaskha Askhabov, who brought with him large-scale heroin trafficking that dominated the local underworld.
Eventually Askhabov was arrested but freed in Moscow shortly afterwards, apparently thanks to his connections in the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The Chechen independence movement has gained widespread attention and support in the Islamic world and throughout the conflict foreign charity organizations and fighters from many Arab countries have volunteered their services.
Allegations of Al-Qaeda and Taliban links to the Chechen mafia have recently appeared and well-known Chechen leaders have been at different times referred to in the media as Islamists, terrorists, and mafia bosses. In a interview, former president of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria Dzhokhar Dudayev gave his opinion of the Russian media's representation of Chechen rebels:. The use of narcotics profits to finance the Chechen separatist movement and its links to Islamists groups has been suggested by various intelligence agencies.
The Chechen mafia presence in Argentina has been linked primarily to the use of Argentina as a transit country for Andean cocaine shipments to Europe in fishing treaters and cargo ships, arms trafficking to Brazil and Colombiaand money laundering.
In the so-called "tri-border" area between Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay - which is home to a sizable Arab Muslim population [ citation needed ] - Argentine intelligence sources have detected contacts between Chechen separatist groups and "Islamic terrorists" and suspect Chechen use of these networks for arms smuggling purposes. In it was reported by Riyad 'Alam-al-Din in Nicosia and an unidentified Al-Watan al-'Arabi correspondent in Moscow that Osama bin Ladin dispatched a delegation to the Chechen Republic made up of his group and representatives of the Taliban.
Secret meetings were held in the outskirts of Grozny with some members of the Chechen Mafia to put the final touches on "the nuclear warheads deal.The Chechen is a Russian crime lord and drug dealer who appears as a supporting antagonist in the film The Dark Knight.
The Chechen was the leader of the Russia-based mafia and is a close associate of Sal Maroni. He was a known buyer of Scarecrow 's fear toxin although he later tried to sell it back after learning what it really was and was willing to work with the Joker in order to bring down Batman and Harvey Dent. He later succeeds in locating the location of the Mob's money with help from the Joker and Laubut Joker sets the money on fire instead and takes control of Chechen's outfit.
The Joker then says that he was going to order his men to chop him up and feed him to his dogs which are black Rottweilersas they drag him away to his aforementioned fate. The Joker would later use the Chechen's dogs to attack Batman during the final battle. Freeze Mrs.SADB - Chechen Derby
Freeze Mr. Freeze: SubZero : Mr. Freeze Dr. Mutants : Penguin Mr. Sign In Don't have an account? Start a Wiki.
Pity there's only one of you. Contents [ show ]. Categories :. This is my city. Why don't we cut you up into little pieces and feed you to your pooches?In the wake of the Maidan revolution, east Ukraine has descended into chaos: providing fertile ground for organised crime gangs to extend their influence.
With the attention of Ukrainian authorities focussed on their conflict with pro-Moscow rebels, organised criminals have been able to consolidate and expand lucrative human trafficking and drugs smuggling routes. It is alleged that Russian organised crime figures have served as agents for Russia in east Ukraine, where they have been used to foment pro-Russian unrest, and transport arms and supplies to rebel groups.
At the recent inquiry into the London murder of Alexander Litvinenkoa court heard that the former KGB spy and Putin critic was killed after threatening to expose links between the Kremlin and Russian organised crime gangs. Vladimir Putin's Russia is a mafia state," alleged prosecutor Ben Emmerson. The claims echoed those of a Spanish judge, who in the WikiLeaks cables alleges that Russian officials and security services were tightly bound together.
The leaked cables sensationally claimed that Russian mafia bosses and FSB agents colluded in illegal arms trading, and Russian law enforcement agencies operated de facto protection rackets for criminal networks. After the collapse of the Soviet Union organised crime exploded in Russia, and crime gangs extended their influence into western Europe, the US and beyond. Experts argue that there are thousands of loosely connected criminal gangs operating in the former Soviet Union, and it's an error to think of them as structured organisations on the model of the Sicilian mafia or the Japanese Yakuza.
It is often very hard to say where one ends and another begins, or who is 'in' which," writes organised crime expert Mark Galleotti. Traditionally, Russian mafia leaders were drawn from the Thieves in Law, elite criminals united by a thieves 'code of honour', usually inducted within the Russian penal system and notorious for their elaborate tattoos.
In recent years, a college educated class of managerial criminals is believed to have established dominance. Formed in the mids in the Solntsevo district in southern Moscow by former gulag inmate Sergei Mikhailov, the gang went on to establish itself as one of the most powerful in Russia, operating drugs smuggling, arms trading, prostitution and kidnapping rackets. The group's tentacles are now believed to extend as far as Indonesia and Latin America, where they have established cocaine trafficking networks in collusion with Mexican cartels.
The group is structured as semi-autonomous cells, with key decisions made by a core leadership council. The WikiLeaks cables allege that the group is able to operate racketeering operations with impunity, due to its connections to Russian security services. Also known as the Family of Eleven, the shadowy syndicate of criminal groups operates a drug smuggling empire that stretched from the former Soviet Union into the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the United States.
Inthe group was named by the US as one of its four key targets in its Strategy to Combat Transnational Crime, and Russian pop star Grigory Lepsveridze, who goes by the stage name Grigory Leps, was alleged to be a courier working for the group. Inthe US Treasury department identified Yekaterinburg crime boss Temuri Mirzoyev as the group's leader, in a memo announcing that the financial assets of five senior figures in the group were being targeted. Formed in St Petersburg in the late s by Vladimir Barsukov, aka Vladimir Sergeevich Kumarin, the group expanded from its original protection racket operations to comprise criminal operations including arms trafficking, drugs trafficking and cybercrime.
In the s, Barsukov expanded the group's portfolio to acquire legitimate businesses, branching out into banking, the timber trade and computers. Competing alongside established Russian mafia groups are myriad groups from former Soviet states, including Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan. Arguably the foremost of these is the Chechen mafia, which rejects the Thieves in Law codes and structures of their Russian counterparts, in favour of a tribal Teip structure.Presnensky district investigative department in the chief directorate of the Moscow branch of the Investigative Committee has terminated criminal investigation into the kidnapping of Movladi Ruslan Atlangeriyev, a thief-in-law high ranking criminal boss who is considered by other mobsters as having authority to settle conflicts between criminal groups and FSB double agent.
He began his career in the 70s with burglaries at rich students' flats, in the 80s he was involved in the violences of the gangsters' wars in Moscow, in the 90s he helped Boris Berezovsky build up his business empire and in the s he cooperated with the FSB while the agency was carring out its operations to detain and annihilate the key figures in the Chechen militant groups.
Kadyrov and Atlangeriyev were childhood friends. After their son finished school the well-to-do Atlangeriyevs sent him to Plekhanov Moscow Institute of National Economy. Very soon young people became friends. Both were Chechens, both were pleasure seekers: they enjoyed tailored suits, restaurants and foreign cars. But this way of live was very hard to follow in the Soviet Union in the 70s. Chechens left university just to learn criminal trade. Their first targets were foreign students from Africa and Arab world who profited from illegal currency exchange and merchandise smuggling.
Their flats got robbed while criminals easily avoided punishment because the victims were reluctant to report the police profiteers were severely prosecuted in the USSR. Former FSB agent Aleksandr Litvinenko poisoned in London in told the author that since as early as the 70s Atlangeriyev and Nukhayev had cooperated with the KGB where they received tip-offs about the foreigners.
Eventually Ruslan and Khozh were detained and found guilty of the break-ins and fraud. Doing their terms, they permanently violated prison discipline and got into scuffles which made them respected in the underworld. By that time the Chechen groups in Moscow were still disorganized. The bands controlled mainly car-dealing and hotels and severely competed with mighty Slavonic groups: Orehkovskaya, Baumanskaya, Lyuberetskya, Balashikhinskaya and Orekhovskaya groups.
Sometimes the gangsters substituted for official authorities in the cities. Their growth could not go unnoticed by the KGB. According to Litvinenko, the security agents decided to form alternative power in the underworld. Atlangeriyev and Nukhaev were ready to help. Within the shortest time disorganised group were united into Lozanskaya group.
Within a single year Lozanskaya gang grew into the most influential organised crime group. They controlled all Berezka shops chain of outlets which sold expensive food and merchandise for currency or special bondscar market, all commercial enterprises in five districts of the capital, the majority of Moscow hotels and petrol stations. With rivals from the Slavonic gangs they dealt shortly and violently. For instance, when in the conflict emerged between the leaders Baumanskaya and Lozanskaya group, 30 Chechen bandits broke into Labirinth Restaurant in Kalininsky Prospect and stabbed Slavonic brigade commanders.
Ruslan and Khoza themselves took part in the stabbing. After that, Baumanskaya group gangsters did not mess with Lozanskaya group. The assets in the South-Westen district of Moscow became the subject of conflict between Solntsevskaya and Lozanskaya groups. The violence grew rampant. But then the thieves-in-law stepped in and the conflict was settled by distributing objects between competing gangs.
However this case was exceptional, because the Lozanskaya gang did obey only certain thieves-in-law. For example, once a group of gangsters led by thief-in-law Zakhary Kalashov who had power to settle conflicts tried to negotiate with Chechen bandits and Khoza. It resulted into stabbing, when the Chechens rushed to the attack. Within a little more than a year Lozanskaya group annihilated more than a score of the leaders of different organised crime groups.
They gained reputation of uncompromising tough guys, which no one dared to challenge. By all the Chechens became billionares. All these events coincided with nationalistic and separatist movement in Chechnya.The Chechen independence movement has gained widespread attention and support in the Islamic world and throughout the conflict foreign charity organizations and fighters from many Arab countries have volunteered their services.
Allegations of Al-Qaeda and Taliban links to the Chechen mafia have recently appeared and well-known Chechen leaders have been at different times referred to in the media as Islamists, terrorists, and mafia bosses. The use of narcotics profits to finance the Chechen separatist movement and its links to Islamists groups has been suggested by various intelligence agencies.
The Chechen mafia presence in Argentina has been linked primarily to the use of Argentina as a transit country for Andean cocaine shipments to Europe in fishing treaters and cargo ships, arms trafficking to Brazil and Colombia, and money laundering. In the so-called "tri-border" area between Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay - which is home to a sizable Arab Muslim population - Argentine intelligence sources have detected contacts between Chechen separatist groups and "Islamic terrorists" and suspect Chechen use of these networks for arms smuggling purposes.
On the other side of the globe, to finance their separatist movement, Islamist leader Shamil Basayev and his Chechen followers transported Afghan heroin through Abkhazia to the Black Sea or through Turkey to Cyprus and then on to Europe.
In it was reported by Riyad 'Alam-al-Din in Nicosia and an unidentified Al-Watan al-'Arabi correspondent in Moscow that Osama bin Ladin dispatched a delegation to the Chechen Republic made up of his group and representatives of the Taliban. Secret meetings were held in the outskirts of Grozny with some members of the Chechen Mafia to put the final touches on "the nuclear warheads deal.
It was claimed that bin Ladin resorted to the services of the Chechen Mafia after many of his aides, some specializing in nuclear physics, failed in their attempts to acquire nuclear technology and equipment. However, these reports have yet to be confirmed by outside sources. Khozh-Ahmed Noukhayev was a leader of the Chechen mafia known as Obshina and a prominent figure in Chechen politics. Sign In Don't have an account? Start a Wiki.
Categories :. Cancel Save.Russian troops pumped in poison gas that ended up killing of the people the authorities were supposed to be rescuing. The Chechans are long past the point of desperation. Russia has taken away this right from the Chechens and today we want to reclaim these rights, which God has given us in the same way he has given it to other nations. God has given us the right of freedom and the right to choose our destiny.
And the Russian occupiers have flooded our land with our children's blood. And we have longed for a just solution. People are unaware of the innocent who are dying in Chechnya: the sheikhs, the women, the children and the weak ones. And therefore, we have chosen this approach.
This approach is for the freedom of the Chechen people and there is no difference in where we die, and therefore we have decided to die here, in Moscow. And we will take with us the lives of hundreds of sinners. Our nationalists have died but people have said that they the nationalists are terrorists and criminals.
But the truth is Russia is the true criminal. She was right in almost everything but her view that innocent theatergoers many of whom ended up dead at Russian hands in any case should pay the price for centuries of oppression and genocide.
Do we listen? The story of Chechen suffering is long: independent Chechnya was conquered by the Russian Empire at the beginning of the 19th century after a long and bloody war against a strong religious leader of the Chechens, the legendary Imam Shamil, who led Chechen resistance to czarist Russia. Young Count Leo Tolstoy, who served in the Russian Imperial Army in Chechnya in the s, was so disgusted by the unjust and atrocious colonial war that he resigned from the army and wrote a story of Chechen war praising Shamil.
Vladimir Lenin referred to Chechnya as the most backward outskirt of the Russian Empire—a prison of nationalities—and declared that development of these regions would be the primary target of the Bolshevik government. This promise became one in the long book of broken promises of socialism—a beautiful mountain country with proud and industrious people was completely destroyed by Communists.
The former Speaker of the Russian parliament, Ruslan Khasbulatov an ethnic Chechen himselftold me that over half of all Chechens were physically exterminated as a result of Stalin's "wise policy towards nationalities.
It was no surprise that long suffered Chechens declared their independence immediately upon the collapse of the Soviet Union in December So did fifteen other nations recognized today by the United States and the world community. The only difference is that Stalin assigned different statuses to different parts of his empire.
The Chechens are a colonized people who have been conducting a struggle against imperial Russia and the imperial Soviet Union for more than years. Putin's invasion of Chechnya brings back the memories of Stalin's deportation of Chechens and Ingush in Russian authorities unleashed an unprecedented propaganda campaign against Chechens as a nation.
In recent years, Russian media have depicted the Chechen nation as thugs and bandits responsible for organized crime and street violence in Russia.
Russian government propaganda following the best traditions of Soviet indoctrination and employing the same people was and is trying to portray all Chechens as criminals and fanatics.
Chechens are portrayed possessing special "national" characteristics: "brutality, sadism, fanaticism and fascism. If it were not for that image, the international support for Chechens would have been even more tangible. I also do not agree with the image of 'Medelin cartel' or criminal zone that has been thrust upon people.
This is a myth. The level of crime among Chechens is no higher than among Georgians or Russians in Moscow. At the same time Chechens are very successful in business. It is little wonder that the Chechens discern a direct continuation of Tsarist and Stalinist politics when they read in the press utterances by Russian generals like "We need a Caucasus without Caucasians" and "We are ready to fight until the last Chechen, etc.
If he cannot kill, he robs; if he is not capable of doing that, he steals, and there is no another kind of Chechen. Russian statists from Aleksandr Barkashov, the leader of the Russian National Unity Party, which styles itself a fascist party, to Alexei Arbatov, the leader of the Liberal wing of the Russian Duma, have endorsed the war in Chechnya.