Russia’s criminal world has been bereaved of its top gangster, 75-year-old Tbilisi-born Aslan Usoyan, known to friends and enemies alike as Grandpa Hassan. First among equals in the Soviet-born and ex-Soviet-wide system of criminals, Grandpa Hassan died a soldier’s death, shot by a sniper bullet in central Moscow, on January 16.
The Russian news agency Interfax reported symbolically that the killer fired from the roof of the apartment of the late Soviet poet Sergei Mikhalkov, who penned the lyrics of the Soviet Union's anthem.
A career criminal, Usoyan was born to a Yezidi Kurdish family in Georgia's capital, Tbilisi, once the main exporter of mafia bosses. In his teen years, he began his ascent through the Soviet mafia hierarchy known as the thieves-in-law.
His authority soon outgrew Georgia, but Grandpa Hassan kept on climbing the career ladder.
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