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Hundreds in Moscow Mourn Russian Mafia Leader

14. October 2009 by Daniel 0 Comments

One of the most notorious members of the Russian Mafia was buried in a prestigious Moscow cemetery on Tuesday after he succumbed last week to a wound from an assassin’s bullet.

Hundreds of mourners, including numerous members of various Russian underworld groups, were present for the funeral of Vyacheslav “Yaponchik” Ivankov at Moscow’s Vagankovo cemetery.

At the request of his family, media were not allowed to attend the ceremony. However, an unprecedented number of police were present.

Ivankov was described as a leading figure in Russian organized crime, who was well-connected to the Russian business and political worlds. For a time, he also lived in the United States, where he served nearly a decade in prison for extortion. In 2004, he was deported back to Russia and put on trial for a 1992 double murder. A jury acquitted him in 2005.

His nickname, Yaponchik, translates to “Little Japanese” – a reference to his short stature and his interest in martial arts. He was thought to have achieved the rank of “thief within the law,” meaning he was a chief member of the Russian Mafia.

In July of this year, he was shot by a sniper while leaving a Moscow restaurant. He died on Oct. 9 from complications from the gunshot wound.