Reputed crime boss Aslan Usoyan, 73, and his bodyguard were hospitalized in stable condition after being shot by an unidentified assailant on Tverskaya Ulitsa late last week, police said.
Usoyan — who is thought to be the most influential crime boss on former Soviet soil and is known as Grandpa Khasan — and his bodyguard Artur Bagramyan were shot by a Kalashnikov assault rifle equipped with a silencer as they entered a building late Thursday, police said, according to national news agencies.
Usoyan had been staying in his son's apartment in the building, Lifenews.ru said.
In order to prevent more attempts on Usoyan's life, police intentionally reported Friday that both men were killed, while in fact they were only hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries, Interfax reported.
The location was selected because it was one of the few places where Usoyan could be ambushed, Interfax said, citing a law enforcement source. Usoyan lives in a Moscow region settlement closed to outsiders, avoids public places, travels in armored cars and employs former police officers as bodyguards, the source said.
Police believe that the attacker lived in an apartment in a neighboring building and probably had accomplices who tracked Usoyan's movements, the source said.
The apartment cost 100,000 rubles ($3,230) a month and was rented by unidentified people in August, Lifenews.ru reported Sunday.
The Interfax source said a search for the attacker was ongoing but he was probably killed by the people who ordered the hit. “First, he failed his task and, second, he knows his employers,” the source said.
Usoyan said he did not know who might have ordered the attack, but police linked it to his alleged criminal activity, Interfax said.
Kommersant speculated that the attack might have been organized by a rival, Tariel Oniani, who it said unsuccessfully competed with him for a contract to develop the territory vacated by the closed Cherkizovsky Market in eastern Moscow in 2009.