SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Notorious Russian crime boss Aslan Usoyan was buried in a tightly controlled ceremony in Moscow on Sunday, after efforts to fly his body to his hometown in Georgia fell through.
A sniper fatally shot Usoyan in the neck in central Moscow on Wednesday. Known in the mafia world as "Grandpa Hassan," Usoyan, 75, was the head of a gang that is reportedly the most powerful in the former Soviet Union.
Journalists were kept away from the burial site, where Usoyan, a Yezidi Kurd, was laid to rest.
Several hundred mourners, most of whom appeared to be of Kurdish ethnicity and sang songs in the native language, attended the funeral, an AFP correspondent saw.
Security personnel at the snow-covered Khovanskoye cemetery, a large burial grounds in Moscow's southwestern outskirts, told journalists to stay away for their own good and barricaded the main entrance.
Police maintained a discreet presence, though filmed mourners as they arrived at the cemetery.
Usoyan's family apparently initially wanted to bury him in Tbilisi, Georgia, his hometown and first stomping ground.
Reports on Saturday said a charter plane with Usoyan's body on board had been flown to Donetsk in Ukraine, and then on to Tbilisi, where his widow and daughter live.
But the plane never landed and returned to Moscow.
Georgian channel Rustavi 2 on Saturday showed a reporter speaking with someone at the Usoyan residence in Tbilisi through a tiny crack in the massive gate.
The woman behind the gate alleged Georgia's government didn't allow the plane to land.
Tbilisi international airport told AFP they don't comment on "special" flights, and the interior ministry refused to comment.
Usoyan's criminal career spanned more than five decades. He served numerous sentences in Soviet times for robbery, "speculating," and disobeying police.
He walked out of jail for the last time in 1991 and had survived several assassination attempts, including one in 2010, also by a sniper.
In 2009, an assassin killed one of his closest associates, Vyacheslav Ivankov, nicknamed Yaponchik. Ivankov's funeral was also held under tight control, with authorities checking the grounds before the black-leather-jacketed crowd arrived to pay their last respects.
Like Ivankov, Usoyan was a high-ranking "thief-in-law", belonging to a caste of notorious criminals originating from the Soviet gulag system, which ruled the gang world and followed a strict honour code.-www.shfaqna.com/English