MOSCOW - Russia's most notorious mafia boss was gunned down in broad daylight by sniper fire as he exited a restaurant in central Moscow today, according to Russia's Interior Ministry.
Aslan Usoyan, who was more commonly known as Ded Hasan (Grandpa Hasan), was the patriarch of one of Russia's most infamous mafia clans. The tabloid news website Lifenews.ru published a bloody photo of Usoyan's dead body.
The mobster had just left an Azeri restaurant around 2:30 p.m. when he was struck by gunfire. Reports said the shot came from a sniper rifle fired from a nearby rooftop. Russia's Interfax news agency reports that a female bystander was also injured by gunfire.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the shooting, but Russian news reports immediately suspected it was the work of a rival gang.
Usoyan was an ethnic Kurd born in the former republic of Georgia, which was then part of the Soviet Union. He had previously survived at least two other assassination attempts. In 2010 he was wounded but survived after being shot in the stomach by a Kalashnikov rifle. At the time investigators suggested it was over a dispute with another Georgian mob boss over construction projects for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Interfax quoted an unnamed law enforcement source saying it appears the two attacks were organized by the same people. The news agency also reported that his killing could spark renewed conflict between criminal groups.
A Russian lawmaker was quoted saying today's hit appeared to be meticulously planned.
"There is no doubt this daring crime was well prepared," State Duma Security and Anti-Corruption Committee Chairperson Irina Yarovaya told reporters, according to Interfax.
Yarovaya dismissed suggestions that the assassination marked a return to the bloody "wild west" days of mob warfare in the 1990s.
"We have a different country, different laws and different order now," she said.