The infamous Russian Mafia boss Aslan Usoyan was gunned down by a sniper outside of a restaurant in Moscow on Wednesday. Usoyan was flanked by two bodyguards when he was struck in the neck by a sniper's bullet. One of his bodyguards returned fire, and Usoyan was pushed inside of the restaurant for safety. The sniper fired five more shots, striking a female employee.
On Thursday, an investigative committee said that investigators are convinced that the sniper opened fire from a stairwell between the "fifth and sixth" floors of a building in the immediate area. Inside of the building, investigators found a chair, cloth and six cartridges. Authorities believe the sniper used an AS VAL machine gun, a weapon commonly used by Russian special forces.
The execution of Usoyan, 75, is the result of an ongoing turf war between two rival gangs. Dr Mark Galeotti, a professor at NYU, says that his death could represent a big shift within the Russian underworld. In a blog post, Galeotti wrote "at a time when that underworld is going through a process of realignment due to a number of forces, not least the increasing flow of Afghan heroin through the country."
Usoyan was a member of the "vory v zakone" prison gang that was dominant during the Soviet era. He rose to power during the "Wild East" crime wave of the '90s, and an attempt on his life was last made in 2011. The 30-year-old female restaurant employee suffered gunshot wounds to the hip and chest, and lost 4.5 liters of blood.