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Medvedev Takes on Russian Gangsters

5. November 2009 by Daniel 0 Comments

Dmitry Medvedev wants to put Russian mafia leaders in prison for the rest of their lives.


The Russian president said as much this week as he signed a law mandating harsher punishments for criminals known as “thieves-in-law,” which are gang leaders who orchestrate Russian mafia activities.


“Punishments for involvement in criminal groups have been raised to the maximum,” Medvedev said, adding that people who are deemed to occupy top positions in criminal organizations will face anywhere from 15 years to life in prison. He said the new law applies to people who make no attempt to hide their status as a leader of Russia’s underworld.


“In its very essence, membership of such a criminal group constitutes a criminal act and this is enough to bring these people to penal responsibility,” he said.


The president has taken several other steps recently aimed at combating organized crime in Russia, including banning jury trials for organized crime suspects and moving trials away from the regions in which the criminals operate.


Last month, hundreds of Russian mafia figures turned out for the funeral of legendary crime boss Vyacheslav Ivankov, who died from complications suffered from an assassin’s bullet.


Additionally, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation last month placed Russian billionaire Semion Mogilevich on its 10 most wanted list. Mogilevich has been described as “the most dangerous gangster in the world.”