Fuss over crime baron’s death triggers angry comments in world web. (from Itar Tass agency)
13. 10. 2009
By Itar-Tass World Service writer Lyudmila Alexandrova
Many Russians have been placing angry comments in the Internet to express surprise or indignation over the fact that a ranking mobster will rest in peace next to the graves of those who deservedly constitute the pride and glory of the nation.
Bloggers have slammed as “
The funeral took place amid tight security. No journalists were allowed to attend. According to some mass media, crime bosses from all over
The assassination attempt on the life of 69-year-old Ivankov took place on July 28, 2009. He died in hospital on October 9. The investigators are proving into several versions of the crime. According to one, he lost his life to an attempt to meddle in an old-time conflict between two criminal clans. And by another version, the Little Japanese died as a result of his shadow activities in the construction materials manufacturing industry.
According to some mass media claims, the right-hand men of the Little Japanese have made their own inquiries already to have found the one responsible and even to pass a sentence.
In the world of organized crime and secret services Ivankov became a legend in his lifetime. He earned the reputation of one of the most authoritative leaders of the criminal world, with extensive contacts in artistic, political and big business circles back in the Soviet years to have retained it until just recently. He was well-known outside
According to police archives, Ivankov, born in 1940, has been a professional pickpocket since the age of 14. During his first detention in 1965 for a pocket theft Ivankov offered violent resistance to police, was examined by psychiatrists, diagnosed as schizophrenic and dispatched to a mental asylum for mandatory treatment only to have escaped from there.
The diagnosis has since allowed him to go unpunished for minor offences more than once. It was canceled in 1974. Ivankov’s successes in boxing helped him join the gang of racketeers under Gennady Korkov (the Mongol), who specialized in the robberies of and extortions from underground businessmen in the Soviet era. It was at about that time that the shape of his eyes earned him the nickname – the Little Japanese – which was a clear allusion to his predecessor – Mike the Little Jap – the notorious gangster in the port city of
In 1974 Ivankov recruited a gang of his own to focus on thefts and extortions. He boasted a fabulous gift of shirking punishment.
In 1981 Ivankov was eventually detained, convicted of armed robbery, illegal carrying of firearms and forgery of documents and sentenced to fourteen years behind bars. While he served the prison term, say media reports, Ivankov violated prison rules 58 times and was sent to the punishment cell on 35 occasions. In the late 1980s a campaign for his release began. Media say many celebrities, including actors, scientists and human rights activists volunteered to put in a word for him. In February 1991 the Supreme Court of the
In 1992 Ivankov left
In 1995 the FBI detained Ivankov on the charges of extortion of 3.5 million dollars from two Russian businessmen – Alexander Volkov and Vladimir Voloshin – co-owners of Summit International. In January 1997 a
After the trial Vyacheslav Ivankov declared he had no intention of meddling in anything and promised he would dedicate himself entirely to the customary pastime of many Russian retirees – that of spending hours on a river bank with a fishing rod. For their part his lawyers said that while in jail Ivankov wrote a cycle of poems, fairy tales for children and an autobiographical piece entitled Against the Wind. Yet, police detectives suspect that he continued to act as an arbiter in conflicts between criminal groups from time to time.
The Russian segment of the world web is brimming with bloggers’ comments over the death and funeral of the Little Japanese.
Here are some of them.
“Why don’t they declare a day of national mourn? My idea is that of burying the Little Japanese in the Mausoleum (Vladimir Lenin’s tomb in
“What sort of country do we live in? It’s a nightmare!!! A mobster’s death makes the nation’s top news. That’s a shame for
“He disgraced our country in the eyes of the civilized world, yet a place has been found for him at the
And one contributor addressed President Dmitry Medvedev in person in these words.
“How many scientists and intellectuals have died in the country over the past 10-20 years? And how many have gone elsewhere? Have the media paid at least as much attention to any of them? Personally, I have only one question to ask in this connection: “Good Lord! What is this ‘