Mobs, gangs and hits are all the kind of terminology that often feels limited to the safe fiction of movies and HBO dramas. However, the Russian police claim that one of the Russian Mafia bosses has been killed in the centre of Moscow on a hit order brings all that fiction into startling reality.
According to a New York Times report, two major 'crime lords' in Russia have been feuding bitterly over the contracts to some major construction projects to be done in Moscow over the next two years, one of which is allegedly for the 2014 winter Olympics to be held in the former Soviet Republic.
Seven shots were fired from a sniper gun by an unidentified man who got away, and Aslan Usoyan aka Grandpa Khasan was shot down. Hit in the jaw he managed to make it to the hospital, though in a coma, and died later. Usoyan had already survived two former assassination attempts, and with an enormous ring of underground casinos, drugs and weapon trafficking it becomes clear why other gangs may have taken the hit out on him.
His rise to power was largely fuelled during the '90s when he began "an emergency fund for jailed Russian criminals", but he had already spent many years in Soviet prisons, having been born into "a caste of professional criminals who sport elaborate tattoos [and] follow unwritten prison laws codified in Stalinist-era Gulags". He gave up the Stalinist rules later in his career, during the early 2000s, opting instead for a more Italian style approach, with control over many criminal groups spanning over Russia, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan.
However, as Yahoo says, the death of the boss doesn't mean the death of the crime, and as Russian lawmaker Alexander Khinshtein has said: "I am sure that a new criminal redistribution will begin now."
'Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)' arrives in April.
The two awards have made for a great 72nd birthday present for the country music icon.